Associate Professor of Italian Studies
-- Duke University
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."