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Paola Nasti

Associate Professor of Italian

Paola Nasti is Associate Professor of Italian, her research focuses on medieval Italian literature and religious culture, textual and intellectual history. She studied at the University of Naples (IT) and the University of Reading (UK). Trained as a Dante scholar and medievalist, she holds a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from the University of Reading. Her doctoral research and her first book explored Dante’s appropriation of the biblical books attributed to King Solomon. There she considered how the medieval Bible, transformed and enriched by centuries of commentary and devotional readings, was capable of providing narrative and rhetorical models as well as wisdom to Dante (Favole d'amore e "saver profondo": la tradizione salomonica in Dante. Angelo Longo Editore, Ravenna, 2007, pp. 272).

The study of biblical intertextuality in Dante’s works has remained her main academic passion and continues to offer the vantage point from where she views how manuscripts, texts, narratives and ideas spread among the communities of readers to which Dante and other medieval writers belonged. Following this red thread she has investigated Dante’s theology of the Church, Dante’s representation of holiness, holy stigmata and Passion narratives in several long articles. She has also contributed chapters on Dante’s religious and scriptural culture to The Cambridge Companion to the Divine Comedy and the first Italian companion to Dante. From her pages Dante emerges as an omnivorous learner and ardent devout who questioned the academic, political, religious and economical establishment by addressing the main challenges of sociality and life with a fierce logic, originality of thought and artistic talent. Further research on Dante’s indebtedness to religious culture will form the core of a forthcoming monograph on Dante and the medieval mendicant friars. Dr Nasti also studies medieval teaching and learning traditions and works on the late medieval circulation of philosophical and theological texts and commentaries among lay and religious readers. The reception of texts and modes of interpretation is at the heart of her work on the early commentary tradition of the Comedy. She fostered the transnational scholarly dialogue around this tradition by co-editing the first volume on the commentaries in the Anglophone world (Nasti, P. and Rossignoli, C. (eds.) Interpreting Dante: Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary. Notre Dame University Press, Chicago, 2013, pp. 110-179).

Paola is a passionate teacher. She had held academic posts at the Universities of Manchester and Reading, she has also been visiting lecturer at the University of Oxford. With seventeen years of experience, she has delivered undergraduate and graduate courses on a wide range of subjects: from contemporary Italian literature and cinema to medieval and Renaissance Italian culture and history. She supervised graduates’ dissertations on Dante, medieval and Renaissance poetry, biblical translations and intertextuality, and as well as on cinema. Her commitment to teaching has earned her both University and Students’ awards for Outstanding Contribution to the University Teaching and Learning at the University of Reading.