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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


George Rayson

PhD Candidate
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


George completed his BA in English Literature at the University of York in 2018. It was there that, thanks to the department’s focus on ‘other’ literatures, that he first encountered the works of Dante. This then led to his finishing his ELAC MPhil here at Cambridge in 2020 with the dissertation, ‘Dante’s hapax legomena: the language of winemaking in Dante’s Commedia’.

Recent research projects: 

George’s research is in Dante’s lexicography, particularly in the Commedia. Dante’s contribution to the Italian lexicon in his work cannot be overstated, with many of the words he uses finding their single or at least first attestation in the Commedia. The breadth and diversity of the poem’s lexicon is such that over 2000 words also occur only singly within the poem. It is these hapax legomena that are of primary focus in George’s project, which looks to understand the precise poetic contribution made by singular usages.


  • Cambridge UK Masters & Selwyn Sykes Scholarship (2019-2020)
  • Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP studentship (2020-2023)

Conference papers

‘Dante’s hapax legomena: the language and labour of winemaking in Dante’s Commedia’, SIS Postgraduate Colloquium, forthcoming.