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Stefano Jossa

Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Italian Studies

Stefano Jossa is Distinguished Fulbright Chair at Northwestern from March to July 2024. He is Honorary Reseach Fellow at Royal Holloway University of London and Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Palermo. He was formerly De Sanctis Chair at the ETH Zurich and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Parma and Roma Tre. He is the author of L’Italia letteraria (il Mulino 2006); Ariosto (il Mulino 2009); Un paese senza eroi: L’Italia da Jacopo Ortis a Montalbano (Laterza 2012); La più bella del mondo: Perché amare la lingua italiana (Einaudi 2018). He has edited: (with C. Boscolo), Scritture di resistenza: Sguardi politici dalla narrativa italiana contemporanea (Carocci 2014); (with G. Pieri), Chivalry, Academy, and Cultural Dialogues. The Italian Contribution to European Culture (Legenda 2016); (with J. Everson and A. Hiscock), Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture (Oxford University Press 2018); and the special issues of Italique on European Petrarchism (2011 e 2012); Renaissance & Reformation on Comedy, Satire, Paradox, and the Plurality of Discourses in Cinquecento Italy (with A. Moroncini, 2017); The Italianist on Italian Heroines: Literature, Gender, and the Construction of the Nation (with S. Alessi, 2019). He is currently editing a Handbook of Italian Literature (Oxford University Press), a Companion to Ludovico Ariosto (with A.R. Ascoli and J.E. Everson, Brill) and a collection of essays on Ariosto in Elizabethan England (with M. Marrapodi, Routledge).

Stefano is a passionate teacher, who loves provoking his students with apparently rhetorical yet substantial questions. Most of his teaching is research-driven, based on close reading of Italian literary classics. In his book Un paese senza eroi, Stefano has explored the interaction between literary heroes and national identity in pre- and post-Unification Italy, from Foscolo's Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis to Camilleri's invention of Inspector Montalbano. In Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture, co-edited with J. E. Everson and A. Hiscock, Stefano has worked on the long duration of Ariosto's presence in the English-speaking world, contributing the introduction and the final chapter on C.S. Lewis and Beckett readers of the Orlando Furioso, with an influence reaching J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. His most recent book, La più bella del mondo, is a broad exploration of Italian language and literature, from Dante to contemporary media, addressed to a general audience, but also useful for language, poetry and translation teaching.

Stefano was also the recipient of a BA/Leverhulme SRG to investigate the Ridolfi collection of letters at the Archives at RHUL (2020-2022). This is the largest and most valuable collection of letters form the Italian Renaissance in a UK University library and offers scope for a deeper understanding of family networks and social relationships at the time.

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