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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Prof Abigail Brundin

Photo of Abigail Bundin
Professor of Italian
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)1223 338305

St Catharine's College 
Trumpington Street 


Abigail Brundin is currently on secondment as Director of the British School at Rome (

Abigail Brundin has been a lecturer in the Department of Italian since 2002, and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College since 2000.

Prof Brundin was one of the three Principal Investigators of the groundbreaking interdisciplinary project Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home, 1400-1600. The project gave rise to a major exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum: Madonnas and Miracles: the Holy Home in Renaissance Italy. The project book, co-authored by the three PIs, is published by OUP: The Sacred Home in Renaissance ItalyThe book won the Bainton Prize for History/Theology, and Honorable Mention for the Society for Renaissance Studies Book Prize.

She also collaborates regularly with the National Trust and English Heritage to work on historic libraries in English country houses. 


Teaching interests: 

Prof Brundin teaches across a range of papers for the Department of Italian, in all years of the degree course. Her teaching is interdisciplinary, involving the study of literature, visual arts, history, political theory and religion. Her teaching focuses in particular on women writers, as well as other kinds of non-canonical literary voices, on lyric poetry, religious literature and culture, as well as on the history of the book and of reading. 

She offers courses on Italian Women Writers and early modern devotional writing for the Faculty’s MPhil, as well as contributing research-led teaching to both interdisciplinary renaissance modules.

Prof Brundin supervises doctoral research on many aspects of renaissance and early modern culture, with a special focus on women writers, poetic culture, religious and devotional culture, and history of the book. She welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to her interests. Prospective doctoral students are encouraged to get in touch by email with a provisional research proposal.

Research interests: 

Abigail Brundin specialises in the literature and culture of Italy in the renaissance and early modern periods. She has published on women writers in the first age of print, beginning with Vittoria Colonna, on literature and religious reform, on poetry in and around convents, and on devotional culture of the home. A recent collaboration with the National Trust examined Italian books in English great house libraries and the influence of the Grand Tour, leading to an exhibition at Belton House in Lincolnshire (see Further work in this vein was also undertaken in the library at Audley End in Essex, with an exhibition in place in the house during 2019. 

Brundin's pioneering collaborative investigation into the forms and function of religious devotion in the home, Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home, 1400-1600, was funded by a Synergy Grant of £2.4m from the European Research Council and led to a major exhibition, Madonnas and Miracles: the Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, as well as a monograph: The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy. Further information can be found at

Prof Brundin is on the steering committee of the Cambridge Centre for Material Texts

Published works: 


Journal Articles

  • With Dunstan Roberts, 'Book Buying and the Grand Tour: the Italian books at Belton House in Lincolnshire'The Library, 16 (2015), 61-79
  • 'On the Convent Threshold: Poetry for New Nuns in Early Modern Italy', Renaissance Quarterly, 65 (2012), 1125-64
  • 'Vittoria Colonna and the Poetry of Reform', Italian Studies 57 (2002), pp.61-74
  • 'Vittoria Colonna and the Virgin Mary', Modern Language Review, 96 (2001), pp.61-81
  • 'Hearing the Other Voice in Early Modern Italy', Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, 20 (2002), 7-12

Book Chapters

  • ‘“Leading others on the road to salvation”: Vittoria Colonna and her readers’, in Vittoria Colonna: Poetry, Religion, Art, Impact, ed. Virginia Cox and Shannon McHugh (Amsterdam University press, in press)
  • ‘“A Man within a Woman, or even a God”: Vittoria Colonna and Sixteenth-Century Italian Poetic Culture’, in Faces of the Infinite: Neoplatonism and Poetics at the Confluence of Africa, Asia and Europe, ed. Stefan Sperl, Trevor Dadson and Yorgos Dedes (London: British Academy, in press)
  • 'La lettura domestica della Bibbia nell'Italia rinascimentale', in Gli italiani e la Bibbia nella prima età moderna: Leggere, interpretare, riscrivere, ed. Erminia Ardissino and Elise Boillet (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019), pp.125-42
  • 'Domestic Bible Reading in Renaissance Italy', in Pregare in casa: oggetti e documenti della pratica religiosa tra Medioevo e Rinascimento, ed. Giovanna Baldissin Molli, Cristina Guarnieri and Zuleika Murat (Rome: Viella, 2018), pp.211-27
  • Multiple entries on books and manuscripts in Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, ed. Maya Corry, Deborah Howard, Mary Laven (London: Philip Wilson, 2017), pp.56-7; 91; 98-103; 172-4
  • 'Poesia come devozione: leggere le rime di Vittoria Colonna', in Al crocevia della storia: poesia, religione e politica in Vittoria Colonna, ed. Maria Serena Sapegno (Rome: Vielli, 2016), pp.161-75
  • 'Vittoria Colonna in Manuscript', in Companion to Vittoria Colonna (cit.), pp.39-68
  • ‘A nun at her private devotions’, in Emprynted in thys manere: early printed treasures from Cambridge University Library, ed. Ed Potten and Emily Dourish (Cambridge University Library, 2014), pp.54-7
  • 'Vittoria Colonna', in Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation, ed. Margaret King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • 'Composition "a due": Lyric Poetry and Scribal Practice in Sixteenth-Century Italy', in Renaissance Studies in Honor of Joseph Connors, ed. by Machtelt Israels and Louis Waldman, 2 vols (Florence: Olschki, 2013), pp.496-504
  • 'Re-Writing Trent, or What Happened to Italian Literature in the Wake of the First Indexes of Prohibited Books?', in Reforming Reformation, ed. Thomas F. Mayer (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp.197-218
  • 'Literary production in the Florentine Academy under the first Medici Dukes: Reform, Censorship, Conformity?', in Forms of Faith in Sixteenth-Century Italy, ed. Abigail Brundin and Matthew Treherne (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 57-76
  • '"Presto fia 'l mio potere in farvi onore": Renaissance Women Poets and the Importance of Praise', in Caro Vitto: Essays in Memory of Vittore Branca, edited by Jill Kraye and A. L. Lepschy in collaboration with Nicola Jones, Special Supplement of The Italianist 27.2 (2007), pp.133-49
  • 'Petrarch and the Italian Reformation', in Petrarch in Britain: Interpreters, Imitators and Translators over 700 years, edited by Peter Hainsworth, Martin McLaughlin and Letizia Panizza (British Academy, 2007) pp.131-48
  • Vittoria Colonna, Sonnets for Michelangelo, in Teaching Other Voices: Women and Religion in Early Modern Europe ed. by Margaret L. King and Albert Rabil Jr. (Chicago University Press, 2007,) pp.86-97
  • 'Vittoria Colonna', in Encyclopaedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France and England, ed. Diana Robin, Anne Larson and Carole Levin (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007), pp.87-91