Alberto Comparini

portrait: Alberto Comparini


Office Hours: 
by appointment
Focal Group(s): 
Philosophy and Literature
Focal Group(s): 
Workshop in Poetics
Curriculum Vitae: 

Alberto Comparini is a first year graduate student in Italian at Stanford University.

He received both his B.A. in Lettere moderne (2007-2010, summa cum laude) and M.A. in Letterature e civiltà moderne (2010-2012, summa cum laude) from Università degli Studi di Genova, where he studied history of Italian langauge and contemporary Italian literature with Prof. Enrico Testa and Prof. Franco Contorbia. During his M.A. degree, he worked as teaching assistant at Durham University (January-June 2012), where he taught Italian language.

He primarly works on 20thcentury Italian literature from a comparative perspective, in its connections with ancient (Greek and Latin) and modern literatures (French and German). He is also interested in the relationships between literature, philosophy, and religion.

He attended conferences in Italy, Austria, and United Kingdom. He has published a book on the poetry of Eugenio Montale, and essays on Giorgio Caproni's religous poetry, Cesare Pavese's "Dialoghi con Leucò", history of Italian modern poetry, and on fictional characters either in poetry or in novel. Currently he is working on a second book, based on a new reading of Pavese's "Dialoghi con Leucò".


2002-2007: High School Diploma, Liceo Classico Martin Luther King (96/100), Genova, Italia.

2007-2010: B.A., Laurea triennale in Lettere moderne (summa cum laude), Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi di Genova, Italia.

2010-2012. M.A., Laurea magistrale in Letterature e civiltà moderne (summa cum laude), Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi di Genova, Italia.

2013-present: Ph.D. student, Stanford University.


Martha Kelly

portrait: Martha Kelly



B.A., M.Hon. Cambridge University

PhD Stanford


Gregory Freidin


Serena Ferrando


Serena Ferrando is a Ph.D. candidate in Italian at Stanford University, specializing in contemporary Italian poetry. She received an MA in American Studies and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her BA in Foreign Languages at the Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy. Her dissertation is a study of the city of Milan, water, and love in the poetry of Alda Merini, Daria Menicanti and Milo De Angelis.

Committee Members: 
Jeffrey Schnapp, Laura Wittman, Carolyn Springer, Serenella Iovino.
Conferences and Publications: 

-'Water in Milan. A Cultural History of the Naviglio'. ASLE Biennial Conference, Bloomington, IN (June 21-26, 2011). 

-'Mi ricordo Alda Merini.' Testimonianze. Milano: Incisione Arte, 2010.

-'Alda Merini and Marilyn Monroe. Icone dell’amore perduto’ in Catalogo Mostra ’Marilyn Monroe e l’arte della bellezza’. Milano: Incisione Arte, 2010.

-'Acqua nella Milano di Daria Menicanti e di Alda Merini.' Chiasmi, Brown-Harvard Graduate Student Conference in Italian Studies (March 12-13, 2010).

-‘Alda Merini and Marilyn Monroe. Icons of Lost Love.’ Mantis, 7, 2009: 40-67.

-Franca Pellegrini. La tempesta originale. La vita di Alda Merini in poesia. Book Review. Italica, 85 (2), 2009.

-‘Gender and Translation. From the Margins to Visibility.’ ‘Corruption’ - Stanford Graduate Student Conference Comparative Literature (April 4-5, 2008).

-The Other Truth. Diary of An Other. (A translation of Alda Merini’s L’altra verita`. Diario di una diversa) Milano: L’Incisione, 2007.

-‘An Italian Poet in the Madhouse: The Life and Works of Alda Merini.’ AAIS-AATI Convention in Genova, Italy (May 25-28, 2006).


-ITALLANG 1, 2, 3, 23, 5A, 2A - Language Instructor.

-ITALLIT 127 (Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca), ITALLIT 128 (The Italian Renaissance and the Path to Modernity), ITALLIT 129 (Modern Italian History and Literature) - Teaching Assistant.

-ITALLIT 142 (Literature and the City) - Instructor.


  • 2005: Master’s in Comparative Literature, University of Texas at Austin. MA Thesis: “The Other Truth. Diary of Another. A Translation of Alda Merini’s L’altra verità. Diario di una diversa.”
  • 2001: Master’s in American Studies, University of Texas at Austin. MA Thesis: “Madness as Speechless Rebellion, Writing as Voice. The Diary and Letters of Alice James.”
  • 1998: BA in Modern Foreign Languages (summa cum laude, Dignità di stampa), Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy.
  • Ph.D. in Italian, Stanford University


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)


Lucy Maddux Alford



Focal Group(s): 
Workshop in Poetics

Lucy Alford is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary poetry and poetics, and the crossings between ethics and aesthetic experience. She works in English, French, German and Arabic. Before coming to Stanford, she earned her BA in English Literature, Political & Social Thought, and Creative Writing from the University of Virginia, taught literature and social studies in Egypt, and completed a PhD in Modern Thought at the University of Aberdeen. Her poems have been published in the US and the UK. 

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