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  Research Interests: Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch, medieval lyric poety, the European novella tradition, and material philology/textual theory

Martin Eisner (Ph.D., Columbia University, 2005) is Associate Professor of Italian Studies and Director of Graduate Studies for the Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. His research explores medieval Italian literature, particularly the works of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, as well as the history of the book and media. His first book, Boccaccio and the Invention of Italian Literature: Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, and the Authority of the Vernacular (Cambridge University Press, 2013), joins material philology to intellectual history in its exploration of Boccaccio’s transcriptions of Dante, Petrarch, and Cavalcanti in Chigi L V 176. It argues that Boccaccio plays a key role in the creation of the Italian literary tradition not only as author but also as scholar and scribe. His new book project, Dante and the Afterlife of the Book: Rematerializing Literary History, continues to integrate philological materials into literary criticism, but takes a diachronic rather than synchronic approach in its analysis of the material tradition of Dante's first book, the Vita nuova, from its earliest manuscripts to the most recent editions and adaptations. His research has also been supported by the Fulbright Foundation, the American Philosophical Association, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the American Academy in Rome. He has also published articles in PMLA, Renaissance Quarterly, Dante Studies, and California Italian Studies. He regularly teaches courses on Dante and Boccaccio that are taught in English with discussion sections for students who can read the text in Italian as well. Recent graduate courses include “Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Future of Literary Criticism," “Dante's Books,” and "Boccaccio's Women."

Recent Papers, Books and Preprints
  1. Eisner, M, In the labyrinth of the library: Petrarch's Cicero, Dante's Virgil, and the historiography of the Renaissance, Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 67 no. 3 (January, 2014), pp. 755-790, Cambridge University Press (CUP) [repository], [doi[abs].
  2. Eisner, MG, The Word Made Flesh in Inferno 5: Francesca Reading and the Figure of the Annunciation in Dante’s Commedia, Dante Studies (2013) [repository].
  3. Eisner, MG, Boccaccio e l’invenzione della letteratura italiana, Le Tre Corone, vol. 1 (2014), pp. 11-26 [repository].
  4. Eisner, M, The Tale of Ferondo’s Purgatory (III.8), in The Decameron: Third Day, edited by Forni, PM; Ciabattoni, F (2014), pp. 153-173, University of Toronto Press.
  5. Eisner, MG, Eroticizing Theology in Day Three and the Poetics of the Decameron, Annali D’Italianistica, vol. 31 (2013), pp. 207-224 [repository[abs].
  6. Eisner, MG, The Return to Philology and the Future of Literary Criticism: Reading the Temporality of Literature in Auerbach, Benjamin, and Dante, California Italian Studies (December, 2011) [4gq644zp].
  7. Eisner, M; Schachter, M, Libido Sciendi: Apuleius, Boccaccio and the History of Sexuality, Pmla, vol. 124 no. 3 (May, 2009), pp. 817-837, Modern Language Association (MLA) [doi[abs].