Dr Valentina Mele
Valentina received her BA in Italian Literature and her MA in Philology from the Università degli Studi di Padova, during which time she spent a year at the University of Warwick as a visiting student. She mainly considered intersections between Italian, English and American literature, working on the reception of Dante in nineteenth and twentieth centuries Anglo-American poetry. She continued her studies at Somerville College, University of Oxford, earning an MSt in Medieval and Modern Languages. Her thesis analysed textual representations of feminine figures in the Italian Duecento love lyric. Valentina holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research focusses on the poetry of Guido Cavalcanti (c.1258-1300). Valentina’s broader interests mostly lie in the relationship between language and subjectivity.
Scholarly discussion of Guido Cavalcanti traditionally anoints his poetry as a foundational moment in the development of modern lyric subjectivity. While the most recent Cavalcanti scholarship provokes further reflections on his poetry and his role in the lyric tradition, Cavalcanti’s corpus still lacks a comprehensive examination. My project seeks to contribute to current understanding of Cavalcanti’s poetry and its role in the Western lyric canon by providing an extensive study of the articulation of subjectivity in Cavalcanti’s Rime. Textual expression(s) of subjectivity will be considered through the lens of linguistics, lexicography, and narratology. My research will examine the main textual strategies contributing to the encoding of the first-person position in the Rime and compare them with the most important poets of the Italian love lyric tradition up to Petrarch. In reassessing Cavalcanti’s role within the lyric canon, my research will lay the foundations for future investigations of Cavalcanti’s reception in the early-modern, modern, and postmodern periods.