early modern

Nicole DeBenedictis

portrait: Nicole DeBenedictis

nicoledb [at] stanford [dot] edu

Office Hours: 
by appointment
Focal Group(s): 

Deborah Tennen

portrait: Justin Calles


Focal Group(s): 

Deb Tennen completed her MA at Middlebury College and is now in her fifth year as a PhD candidate at Stanford.  Her research focuses on gender identity in early modern Italian paratexts, specifically dedications of sixteenth-century works.  She is passionate about teaching, and has worked as the coordinator of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) workshop at the Humanities Center and the Renaissances Focal Group of the DLCL.


2011 Centennial TA teaching award (Humanities and Sciences)


B.A., Middlebury College (Italian and Religion). Thesis: "Italian Jewish Women in Ottava Rima: A Translation and Analysis of Mordecai Dato’s Sixteenth-Century Retelling of Megillat Ester."

M.A., Middlebury College School in Italy / Universita` di Firenze (Italian Literature). Thesis: "The flourishing of feminine culture in the Jewish Ghetto: an analysis of the poetry of Debora Ascarelli and Sara Copio Sullam" (in Italian).


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)


Dan Edelstein

portrait: Dan Edelstein

102 Pigott Hall
650 724 9881

Office Hours: 
Tuesday 10:00-12:00
Focal Group(s): 
Digital Humanities
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education
Focal Group(s): 
Philosophy and Literature
Curriculum Vitae: 

I work for the most part on eighteenth-century France, with research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, political theory, and digital humanities. My first book, The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2009), examines how liberal natural right theories, classical republicanism, and the myth of the golden age became fused in eighteenth-century political culture, only to emerge as a violent ideology during the Terror. This book won the 2009 Oscar Kenshur Book Prize. My second book, entitled The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (University of Chicago Press, 2010), explores how the idea of an Enlightenment emerged in French academic circles around the 1720's. I’ve also edited two volumes of essays, one for Yale French Studies, on Myth and Modernity, the other for SVEC (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century) on The Super-Enlightenment. In addition, I’ve published articles on such topics as the Encyclopédie, antiquarianism, Orientalism, the Idéologues, political authority, and structuralism, as well as on writers including Jean-Sylvain Bailly, Balzac, Roland Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Michelet, Mallarmé, Georges Sorel, Emmerich de Vattel, and Voltaire.

At Stanford, I mostly teach courses on the literature, philosophy, culture, and politics of the Enlightenment; on nineteenth-century novels; the French Revolution; early-modern political thought; and French intellectual culture (“Coffee & Cigarettes”). I teach two Thinking Matters courses, one on "Education as Self-Fashioning," the other on "Networks: Ecological, Revolutionary, and Digital." I’ve received the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching (in 2006), the university's highest teaching honor, and the Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award (in 2011).

I’m currently working on three main projects:

A comparative study of revolutionary authority. This book-length project examines how (and when) “revolution” became in and of itself a means of justifying revolutionary action. Stretching from the sixteenth century to the present, it focuses in particular on the appearance and evolution of revolutionary “myths” (drawing on Georges Sorel’s definition of the term). An article from this project recently appeared in French Historical Studies.

Nature and natural right in the Enlightenment. This project looks broadly at the different ways in which nature served as a “moral authority” (Lorraine Daston) in the eighteenth century. In particular, I examine how the philosophes developed a current of natural right theory that was distinct (and considerably different) from the philosophical-jurisprudential tradition. I carry this study up through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. A version of this research ("Enlightenment Rights Talk") is forthcoming in the Journal of Modern History.

Mapping the Republic of Letters. Along with a number of colleagues at Stanford and around the world, I’m involved in a large-scale digital humanities project, one of whose primary aims is to map the correspondence networks of major intellectual figures. For more information, visit Mapping the Republic of Letters. You can also read about our project in the Stanford Report and in the New York Times.

I’m also a founding editor of Republics of Letters, and with J.P. Daughton, I co-direct the French Culture Workshop.


2004: Ph.D. in French, University of Pennsylvania
1999: Licence ès lettres (French, English, Latin), Université de Genève
1993: Maturité scientifique, Collège Calvin, Geneva


Roland Greene

portrait: Roland Greene

Building 260, Room 215
Phone: 650 725 1214

Office Hours: 
On leave 2013-14
Focal Group(s): 
Focal Group(s): 
Workshop in Poetics
Roland Greene is a scholar of Renaissance culture, especially the literatures of England, Latin Europe, and the transatlantic world, and of poetry and poetics from the sixteenth century to the present. His most recent book is Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes (Chicago, 2013). He is the editor in chief of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012).
His other books include Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas (Chicago, 1999), which argues that the love poetry of the Renaissance had a formative role in European ideas about the Americas during the first phase of the colonial period; Post-Petrarchism: Origins and Innovations of the Western Lyric Sequence (Princeton, 1991), a transhistorical study of lyric poetics; and, edited with Elizabeth Fowler, The Project of Prose in Early Modern Europe and the New World (Cambridge, 1997).
Greene is the general editor of a series of critical volumes titled World Literatures Reimagined. The first three volumes in the series, Earl Fitz's Brazilian Narrative Traditions in a Comparative Context, Azade Seyhan's Tales of Crossed Destinies: The Modern Turkish Novel in a Comparative Context, and Kirsty Hooper and Manuel Puga Moruxa's Contemporary Galician Studies, are in print.
The directions of Greene's research are reflected in the three working groups he oversees with colleagues and graduate students, two of which are formal Focal Groups in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. In 2004 he established Renaissances: A Research Group in Early Modern Literatures, which presents younger scholars from around the U.S. and elsewhere working on topics of long-term significance (for 2012-14, the topic is "Nodes, Networks, Names"). In 2006 he created the Stanford Poetics Workshop, which includes a regular membership of faculty members, advanced graduate students, and fellows at the Humanities Center. A group on Transamerican Studies, co-chaired with Ramón Saldívar, began meeting in the autumn of 2009 and is currently on hiatus. These groups invite both Stanford scholars and visitors to present research in progress, and serve to assemble the community of Ph.D. students currently working in these areas.
Greene is the Director of Arcade, a digital salon for literature and the humanities.
At Stanford he is actively involved with the Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, which brings postdoctoral scholars to campus, with the Bing Overseas Studies Program, and with the Program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE), of which he is a former director.
Greene is currently Second Vice President of the Modern Language Association of America; he will serve as President in 2015.

1985: Ph.D., Princeton University

1979: A.B., Brown University


Future Lectures and Conference Papers:

"The Semantics of the Baroque: How Seventeenth-Century Poets and Artists Understood (and Translated) the Terms for a Baroque Aesthetic," Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, November 19, 2013

"Cervantes in Shakespeare in Theobald: Three Stages of Literary History in One Artifact," Double Falshood (1727) and Cardenio (1613): Theobald, Fletcher, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies and William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles, January 2014

"Institutions and the Vernacular," Renaissance Society of America, New York, March 2014

Roundtable, Sidney and Spenser Studies in Tribute to T. P. Roche, Renaissance Society of America, New York, March 2014

Roundtable, Transgressing Boundaries: Comparative Epic and Drama, Renaissance Society of America, New York, March 2014

"Auerbach's Universals," Reading Mimesis Chapter 13, Shakespeare Association of America, St. Louis, April 2014


Ph.D. students:

Rhiannon Lewis, ""One Word My Whole Years Work": Time, Use, and Labor in Renaissance Poetry," Department of English, in progress

Ryan Haas, "The Draggled Muse: Early Modern Literature and the Poetics of Triviality," Department of English, in progress

Lucy Alford, "Unfolding Presence: Poetic Attention through the Lens of the Twentieth Century," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Talya Meyers, "'Streight Course' and 'Wandring Eye': Reconsidering the Epic," Department of English, in progress

Noam Pines, "The Poetics of Dehumanization in Jewish Literature," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Virginia Ramos, "The Modern Lyrical Novel," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Bronwen Tate, "Putting it All In, Leaving it All Out: Expansion and Compression in Post-War Poetry," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Colin Moore, "Communicative Situations in Early Modern European Fiction," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Christopher Donaldson, "The Local Poet in the Romantic Tradition," Department of Comparative Literature, 2012. Now Literary Research Associate, Spatial Humanities Project, Lancaster University.

Kathryn Hume, "The Performance of Analysis in Seventeenth-Century Literature and Science," Department of Comparative Literature, 2012. Now Marketing Content Specialist, IntApp.

Anton Vander Zee, "'The Final Lilt of Songs': Late Whitman and the Long American Century," Department of English, 2012. Now Assistant Professor of English, College of Charleston.

Frederick L. Blumberg, "Literature and Its Rivals, 1500-1660," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of English, University of Hong Kong.

Fabian Goppelsröder, "Kalendergeschichte and fait divers: The Poetics of Circumscribed Space," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Potsdam.

Harris Feinsod, "Fluent Mundo: Inter-American Poetry, 1939-1973," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of English, Northwestern University.

Stephanie Schmidt, "Foundational Narratives, Performance and the City," Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, University of Tulsa.

David Marno, "Thanking as Thinking: The Poetics of Grace in John Donne's Holy Sonnets," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of English, University of California, Berkeley.

Anne Marie Guglielmo, "Contested Genealogies in Early Modern Mediterranean Literature," Department of Comparative Literature, 2010

Ema Vyroubalová, "Linguistic Alterity and Foreignness in Early Modern England, 1534-1625," Department of English, 2010. Recipient of the department's Alden Prize for best dissertation, 2011. Now Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature, Trinity College, Dublin.

Claire Seiler, “Between Pole and Tropic: Poetry and Fiction, 1945-1955," Department of English, 2010. Now Assistant Professor of English, Dickinson College.

Enrique Lima, "Forms of Conquest: Indian Conflict and the Novel in the Americas," Department of Comparative Literature, 2006. Now Assistant Professor of English, University of Oregon.

David Colón, "Embodying the Ideogram: Orientalism and the Visual Aesthetic in Modernist Poetry," Department of English, 2004. Now Assistant Professor of English, Texas Christian University.

Jillanne Michell, "The Ethics of Toleration in English Renaissance Literature," Department of English, University of Oregon, 2004. Now Professor of English and Department Chair, Umpqua Community College.

Carolyn Bergquist, "Worlds of Persuasion," Department of English, University of Oregon, 2003. Now Director of Composition, University of Oregon.

Kate Jenckes, "Allegories of Writing / History: Borges, Benjamin, and Buenos Aires," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 2001. Now Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Michigan.

Miles Taylor, "Nation, History, and Theater: Representing the Past in the Drama of Early Modern England," Department of English, University of Oregon, 2000. Now Associate Professor of English, Le Moyne College.

Nina Chordas, "Utopian Poetics: The Praxis and Discourse of Utopia in England and America, 1516-1637," Department of English, University of Oregon, 1998. Now Associate Professor of English and Department Chair, University of Alaska Southeast.

Jaspal Singh, "Maddening Inscriptions: 'Madness' as Resistance in Postcolonial African and South Asian Women's Fiction and Film," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 1998. Now Professor of English, Northern Michigan University.

Karen Piper, "Territories of the Novel: Borders, Identities, and Displacements in Twentieth-Century Fiction," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 1996. Now Professor of English, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Marilyn G. Miller, "Miscegenation and the Narrative Voice," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 1995. Now Associate Professor of Spanish, Tulane University.

Professional Activities: 

Syndicate content