David Lummus

portrait: David Lummus

209 Pigott Hall
650 724 5832

Office Hours: 
T / W 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM & by appointment
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education
Focal Group(s): 
Curriculum Vitae: 

David Lummus specializes in late medieval and early modern Italian literature and intellectual history. His research and teaching interests include fourteenth-century literature in Latin and the vernacular, Renaissance Humanism, medieval and early modern mythography, and the pastoral tradition. He explores critical approaches such as reception theory and actor-network theory, and has experience in literary translation, especially of contemporary Italian poetry. He has written on Giovanni Boccaccio, Francesco Petrarca, Dante Alighieri, Albertino Mussato, and Edoardo Sanguineti, and he is currently completing his first book, The City of Poetry: Politics and Poetics in Pre-Humanist Italy, which addresses the nature of the humanist revival of the classical past by examining the political function of the proto-humanist defense of poetry. It focuses on the ways in which fourteenth-century theories and practices of poetry engaged with municipal political practices and universal theories of political organization, in the works of Albertino Mussato, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Coluccio Salutati. Between 2008-2012, he was Assistant Professor of Italian at Yale University, and in 2009-2010 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame. He was elected to the Modern Language Association's Executive Committee for Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature, on which he will serve between 2014-2018.


2008: Ph.D., Italian, Stanford University

2001: B.A. summa cum laude, Italian and Classics, University of Texas at Austin


Elizabeth Coggeshall

portrait: Elizabeth Coggeshall

Email: eacogg@stanford.edu

Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education
Focal Group(s): 

Beth Coggeshall received her Ph.D. in Italian (2012) focusing on late medieval poetry, especially Dante.   She wrote her dissertation on friendship in Dante's life and works.  She was the Gerald J. Lieberman Fellow in the Humanities for the 2011-2012 academic year, and is currently teaching in Stanford's freshman programs, Thinking Matters and Education as Self-Fashioning.

From 2008-2010 Beth was the resident director (Graduate Theme Affiliate) of the Casa Italiana, the Italian-themed undergraduate residence on Stanford's campus. In 2008-2009 she served as one of the graduate co-coordinators of the interdisciplinary Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) workshop, sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center.  

DISSERTATION: Dante's Friends

Advisor: Robert Harrison.  Readers: Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Carolyn Springer, Heather Webb (Ohio State)

Thesis description:  Although Dante never clearly articulates a theory of friendship, friendship is one of the crucial elements for his conceptualization of community.  Through a careful study of Dante’s biographical and fictionalized relationships with the poets of his social sphere, we find that the concept of “friend” and the place of that concept within the greater social bedrock is foundational to his projects.  The exact nature of both the concept and its place, however, shifts as his program shifts: the friend serves a different role in the foundation of the tradition of the volgare illustrethan he does in the search for redemption on Mount Purgatory.  This dissertation traces these shifts, reading Dante’s latent thoughts on friendship through his “real-life” relationships.


“‘Eternal Hate Created Me As Well’: In Search of Hate in Dante’s Comedy.”  In Dante’s Volume from Alpha to Omega: Inscriptions on the Poet’s Universe.  Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  Forthcoming 2013.

Per lo ’nferno tuo nome si spande: Politics in the Infernal City.”  In Critical Insights: The Inferno, by Dante.  Pasadena, CA : Salem Press.  2012.

“Dante, Islam, and Edward Said.” Telos 139 (Summer 2007), 133-151.

“Keeping to the Straight Path of the Faith: Intertextuality, Religious Myth and Claims to Truth in Dante and the Mi‘raj.La Fusta : Journal of Italian Literature and Culture 14 (Fall 2006), 29-41.


"Collaboration vs. Genius: Dante's Friends."  Bibliotech Conference, Stanford University, May 10, 2012.

"Patrons as Friends: Dante and Can Grande."  NeMLA Convention, Rochester, NY, March 15-18, 2012.

“Friendships Revisited: Dante and the Donati.”  MLA Convention, Seattle, Washington, January 5-8, 2012.

“Hate in the Universe of Love.”  Dante’s Volume From Alpha to Omega: A Graduate Symposium on the Poet’s Universe.  Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, March 26-28, 2010.

“Dante’s Lack of Imagination: Ineffability and the End of the Poem.”  AAIS Annual Conference, New York, New York, May 7-10, 2009.

“Memory, Fantasy and the Failure of Poetry in Paradiso XXXIII.”  Considering the Radiance: Dante’s Journey to Paradise. Stanford University, February 1, 2008.

“Competing Visions and Constructed Truths in theLibro della Scala and the Divine Comedy.”   AAIS Annual Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 3-6, 2007.

“Waking from Life: Sacred Truth in Dante’s Visionary Journey.”  Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 29-31, 2007.

“Mythic and Religious Contexts and Countertexts to Dante’s Otherworldly Journey.”  Mythamorphoses: Collective Myth and Italian Literature.  Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, October 21-22, 2005.

“Islam and the True Diritta Via: The Poetics of Anxiety in Dante’s Commedia.”  What are Freedoms?  Francophone, French and Italian Discourses on Liberty, Otherness, and Exoticism.  Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, April 1-2, 2004. 


ITALGEN 153: Dante and the Modern Imagination.  (Spring 2012)  Literature seminar on Dante's Divine Comedy and its afterlife.  Taught in English with optional discussion section in Italian.

ITALLIT 127: Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio.  (Fall 2009)  Advanced undergraduate literature survey on the Italian canon, from origins to early modern period.  Taught in Italian.

ITALLANG 126: Italy and Italians Today.  Five different quarter-long courses on the following topics: Love in Italian Cinema; Italianità in America; Facciamo due chiacchiere: Un posto al sole; Performance all’italiana: Poetry and Music; The Regions of Italy.  (5 quarters, Fall 2008-Spring 2010)  Taught in either English or Italian.

ITALLANG 125: Dante. (Winter 2010)  Literature seminar on selections from Dante's Inferno.  Taught in English.

ITALLANG 1, 2, 3, 5B, 21A: Italian Language sequence.  (5 quarters, Fall 2007-Summer 2010)  First and second year Italian language courses, including accelerated sequence.  Use of textbooks Parliamo italiano and Ponti.  Focus on oral and written proficiency.  Taught in Italian.


PhD, Italian, Stanford University (June 2006-September 2012)

MA, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University (September 2004-June 2006)

BA, Medieval Studies and Italian, University of Notre Dame (August 1999-May 2003)


Robert Pogue Harrison

portrait: Beverly Allen

121 Pigott Hall
650 723 4204

On leave Autumn 2012

Professor Harrison received his doctorate in romance studies from Cornell University in 1984, with a dissertation on Dante's Vita Nuova. In 1985 he accepted a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford. In 1986 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He was granted tenure in 1992 and was promoted to full professor in 1995. In 1997 Stanford offered him the Rosina Pierotti Chair. In 2002, he was named chair of the Department of French and Italian. He is also lead guitarist for the cerebral rock band Glass Wave.

Professor Harrison's first book, The Body of Beatrice, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1988. A revised and elaborated version of his dissertation, it deals with medieval Italian lyric poetry, with special emphasis on Dante's early work La Vita Nuova. The Body of Beatrice was translated into Japanese in 1994. Over the next few years Professor Harrison worked on his next book, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, which appeared in 1992 with University of Chicago Press. This book deals with the multiple and complex ways in which the Western imagination has symbolized, represented, and conceived of forests, primarily in literature, religion, and mythology. It offers a select history that begins in antiquity and ends in our own time. Forests appeared simultaneously in English, French, Italian, and German. It subsequently appeared in Japanese and Korean as well. In 1994 his book Rome, la Pluie: A Quoi Bon Littérature? appeared in France, Italy, and Germany. This book is written in the form of dialogues between two characters and deals with various topics such as art restoration, the vocation of literature, and the place of the dead in contemporary society. Professor Harrison's next book, The Dominion of the Dead, published in 2003 by University of Chicago Press, deals with the relations the living maintain with the dead in diverse secular realms. This book was translated into German, French and Italian. Professor Harrison's most recent book is Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, which appeared in 2008 with the University of Chicago Press, and in French with Le Pommier. In 2005 Harrison started a literary talk show on KZSU radio called "Entitled Opinions." The show features hour long conversation with a variety of scholars, writers, and scientists.


1984: Ph.D., Romance Studies (Dissertation: "A Phenomenology of the Vita Nuova"), Cornell University
1976: B.A., Humanities, University of Santa Clara

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