Professor Luciano Parisi
Associate Professor of Italian literature
I studied at the universities of Genoa (laurea in Italian literature) and Bologna (laurea in music history) and at Boston College (PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures). Before moving to Exeter I taught at Boston University, Oxford Brookes, Royal Holloway University of London, and Trinity College Dublin.
My research has various strands: literary expressions of spirituality (Muratori, Manzoni, Borgese), the development of liberal ideas in Italy (Manzoni, Nievo), Italian literary criticism (Borgese, Croce), and narratives of child sexual abuse (Deledda, Drigo, Ferrante, Limentani, Moravia, Maraini). My next book (Giovani e abuso sessuale nella letteratura italiana, 1902-2018) will be published at the beginning of 2021.
I favour a hermeneutic approach (Paul Ricœur, Hans-Georg Gadamer) for literary courses and a communicative approach (Sandra Savignon) for language classes. Dialogue with students is essential in both cases and it is based on the assumption that no one thinks very much where all think alike.
I am fond of our environment. Walking in the mountains is my preferred hobby. I reached the major peaks in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire in the 1990s, completed the Tour du Mont Blanc in 2008, and crossed the Ligurian Apennines (Ottone-Barbagelata, Rapallo-Rivergaro, Arenzano-Rossiglione) several times in the past few years.
I am an expert in 19th- and 20th-century Italian literature, with an additional interest in contemporary culture. My first book, Borgese (2000) analyzes the work written by the novelist, literary scholar, travel writer and anti-Fascist political author Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882-1952), and shows how interconnected the different aspects of his literary prodution are.
My second and third books are devoted to the poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1872). Manzoni e Bossuet (2003) analyzes the ways in which Bossuet and other Catholic authors of seventeenth-century France inspired Manzoni. It is the main reference work on the influence of French Catholicism on Manzoni and a significant case study on the relationship between cultural tradition and individual creativity.
Come abbiamo letto Manzoni (2008) studies the ways in which Manzoni’s work has been interpreted in the 20th century. It highlights the connections between the questions more often asked about Manzoni’s work and the major concerns that have captured the attention of Italians in different periods of that century.
In Uno specchio infranto. Adolescenti e abuso sessuale nell’opera di Alberto Moravia (2013) I suggest that an unacknowledged story dominates the copious and still widely read literary production by Alberto Moravia (1907-1990). That story hints at the disastrous psychological effects of sexual abuse on children and adolescents. The lack of such an interpretation among previous scholars is in itself an interesting object of research: I analyze the social, political and religious assumptions that have prevented Moravia’s readers from noticing the narration of facts that were too shocking or ideologically disruptive to be accepted, even at a fictional level.
I am now studying other narratives of child sexual abuse in recent Italian literature, and planning to write a monograph on Ippolito Nievo's Le confessioni di un italiano, a key text for the understanding of Italian identities in the nineteenth century.
Schedario manzoniano internazionale, Catholic University in Milan
- PhD, Representing Adolescents in Contemporary Italian Fiction, Rossano Astremo (from 2019)
- MRes, The Figure of the Nun in the Fiction by Anna Banti, Colette Yver and Kate O'Brien, Charlotte Booth (2012)
- PhD, Nineteenth-Century Italian Explorers in Africa, Cristina Centonze-Paronzini (part-time, 2004-2010)
- PhD, Dino Buzzati and English Literature, Valentina Polcini (2006-2009)
Quande in te belle mattinn-e
limpide de primmaveja
che lungo e spiaggie marinn-e
pâ unna farfalla ogni veja;
e-o sô o l’inonda de luxe
l’anima o mâ e-e campagne
e pân sospeise in te l’aia
insemme a-e nuvie e montagne;
l’antigo dubio o me torna;
saiâ proprio veo che un giorno
s’asmortiâ tutto pe mi?
Figgêu, che pe-i coste di monti
Ti bèivi a-e fresche vivagne,
appenn-a fiorisce e campagne,
ciàmmime un po unna mattin.
Chissà che da qualche rianello,
da qualche ramma de pin
no te risponde un pittin.
External impact and engagement
Contribution to discipline
I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the Centro Nazionale di Studi Manzoniani in Milan (from 2019).and was a member of the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK (2010-2017).
- MLI1121 - A Thousand Faces: Cultures and History in 19th-Century Italy
- MLI2120 - Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed
- MLI2207 - Narratives of Child Sexual Abuse
- MLI3111 - Advanced Italian Language Skills
- MLI3199 - Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend
Recent conference papers and presentations
. 2020, September 10th and 11th, University of Canterbury, Conference Visions of Italy, 'Visual culture and modernism in Alberto Moravia’s Gli indifferenti'
. 2019, June 7th and 8th, Durham, University of Durham, Conference Elena Ferrante in a Global Context, 'La ricezione dell’Amica geniale in un’università del Devon'
· 2018, November 15th and 16th, Paris, Université Paris-Sorbonne, Conference I promessi sposi travestiti, 'Tre tipi di parodia e la Provvidenza'
. 2017, March 17th, Exeter, Graduate School of Education Conference, ‘Studying narratives of child sexual abuse in Italian literature. Examples and questions’
· 2017, March 9th and 10th, Anzio, Università di Tor Vergata (Rome), Pirandello Conference, ‘Una lettura di “Alla zappa”’