Manuele Gragnolati is Full Professor of Medieval Italian Literature at Sorbonne Université, Associate Director of the ICI Berlin, and Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford. He studied Classical Philology, Medieval Studies, and Italian Literature at the Universities of Pavia (BA and MA), Paris IV-Sorbonne (MA) and Columbia in NYC (PhD). Before joining Sorbonne Université, he taught at Dartmouth College from 1999 to 2003 and from 2003 to 2015 at the University of Oxford, where he was Full Professor of Italian Literature.
A significant part of his research, including his first monograph Experiencing the Afterlife: Soul and Body in Dante and Medieval Culture (2005), focuses on Dante and medieval literature and culture, especially on the significance of corporeality in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century eschatology. He is also interested in the concept of linguistic subjectivity from Dante’s Vita Nova to the present, in modern appropriations of medieval texts, and in feminist and queer theory. His second monograph Amor che move: Linguaggio del corpo e forma del desiderio in Dante, Pasolini e Morante (2013), offers a diffractive exploration of body, language, desire in Dante and two authors who have engaged with Dante’s oeuvre in the late twentieth century from a minor, ‘eccentric’ position.
Lyric poetry is another of his interests and in this field he has collaborated on a substantial commentary on Dante’s Rime and published essays on medieval and modern authors as well as the volume Possibilities of Lyric: Reading Petrarch in Dialogue (2020), which he coauthored with Francesca Southerden and which explores the potential of the lyric mode through a comparative reading of Petrarch’s Canzoniere.
Manuele Gragnolati enjoys studying and teaching literature for its critical potential to challenge normative ways of thinking and is particularly interested in texts that propose different figurations of reality, whether in the past or in the present. He believes in an interdisciplinary approach to culture and in collaborating with colleagues with different intellectual histories and backgrounds. An example is the recent Oxford Handbook of Dante (2021), which he co-edited with Elena Lombardi and Francesca Southerden and which includes 45 essays by scholars from all over the world and offers an updated, transnational, and plural take on Dante’s oeuvre. At the ICI Berlin he has run several interdisciplinary projects on Dante, Elsa Morante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and other topics which have often resulted in collective volumes.