Foto del docente

Lara Michelacci

Associate Professor

Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies

Academic discipline: L-FIL-LET/10 Italian Literature

Director of Second Cycle Degree in Italian Culture and Language for Foreigners


Keywords: Resurgence Words&Images Literature and collections Literature and science Renaissance Travel Literature Travel Literature

My major research field is the Italian Renaissance literature and its connected and interrelated systems of cultural representation (‘ut pictura poesis'), including the relationship between visual art and literature. My work aims to fuse literature with essential cultural aspects of history. My research interests include Italian Renaissance travel writing, Paolo Giovio, and the representation of “Others” in Renaissance culture. In addition, I have a strong interest in modern European Literature. Although my work is strongly influenced by the insights of philology, my training brought me to the study of historical and social problems in literature. In my books, I have examined topics such as different forms of social anxieties in Italian textual production by synthesizing the methods of historical inquiry with philological investigation. Considering how the Renaissance challenged education, culture and intellectual life, I have widely explored the myth of the “Turkish peril” and its representation in this period. The stereotypes of the Ottoman Turk conceived as non-historical, irrational, despotic, and fanatical “Other”, have generally been considered more characteristic of the nineteenth-century Orientalism than of early modern intellectual structures, yet the intermediary location of Orientalist ideas between the early modern period and the contemporary world has encouraged a backward view onto early modern subjects. My focus on travel literature also allows me to explore the various conceptualizations of fear and its public perception, the representation of the enemy, and the expression of Western vulnerability in early modern texts.

Currently, I am developing a new book-project on the relationship between the so-called crisis of representation in Europe and the question of meaning in Renaissance culture with particular attention to the representation of harem and female slavery in XVI century.  I have published the first results of this new research in the book Battista Guarini e la retorica dell'altrove politico. Un genere fra epistola, relazione diplomatica e resoconto di viaggio (Bologna, I libri di EMIL, 2009), written with Luisa Avellin collaboration. In it I have analized and edited the unpublished political account Discorsi sopra le cosa della Polonia (manuscript I 496 Biblioteca Ariostea of  Ferrara) by Battista Guarini.

At the present I am working on the Iconography of Fortune between Renaissance and Baroque age as I developed my competences at The Warburg Institute in London. I recently edited P. Giovio, Vita di Adriano VI, Napoli, La Scuola di Pitagora (2015).

In 2014 I started to work on a new project on XIX Century literature (Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso: una donna allo specchio dell'Oriente, "Lettere Italiane", 2, 2014)  and I published a book titled Il microscopio e l'allucinazione. Luigi Capuana fra Letteratura, scienza e anomalia (Bologna, 2015) and several essays in Journals.