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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Nicole Maniero

(c) The University of Cambridge
PhD Candidate
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)1223 338305

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


In 2013, I graduated cum laude in Italian Literature (lettere moderne) at the Università degli Studi di Padova. Between 2014 and 2015, I accomplished a Masters of Arts in Comparative Literature at the School of European Culture and Languages at the University of Kent in Canterbury, where I focussed on German, French and English modernist literature. In 2016, I started an MPhil at the University of Cambridge in European and Latin American Comparative Literature and Culture funded by the Keith Sykes Postgraduate Scholarship and the Italian Department. During this period, I focussed mainly on Italian and French 21st century literature and film. In 2017, I graduated with distinction with a thesis titled ‘Difficult Objects: the Poetics of Object Fetishism in Italo Calvino’s Gli amori difficili (1970)’ under the supervision of Dr Pierpaolo Antonello. In the same year, I started a doctoral project partly based on my MPhil thesis, funded by the Keith Sykes Postgraduate Research Scholarship. 

Teaching interests: 

IT1 Texts and Contexts 

Research interests: 

The main aim of my research is to investigate the literary representation of objects and of the phenomenon of object fetishism in Italian short stories dated between 1930 and 1959. The examination of the recurrence and representation of these motifs offers not only a viable route to explore the literary impact of the rising material culture during this crucial time of Italian modern history, but it also deepens the understanding of the expressive modalities adopted to depict said culture.

The interpretative approach that I adopt is both critical and theoretical, and it hinges upon a selection of four different theoretical frameworks: the anthropological, the psychoanalytical, the Marxist and the new materialist ones, which will be used for the analysis of clusters of different texts. This methodological variety will help interpret the subject-object relationship through different parameters, thus shedding an innovative light onto texts that have received very limited critical attention, particularly from these points of view. The hypothesis underlying my investigation is that the study of the recurrence of these motifs within an Italian corpus and in this specific timeframe might backdate the literary interest in the representation of objects, usually ascribed to a later period, whilst simultaneously drawing attention to the too-often-underestimated production of short fiction of this time.

Currently, my corpus includes texts from: Italo Calvino’s Racconti (1958); Alberto Moravia’s La bella vita (1935) and Racconti 1927-1951 (1952); Elsa Morante’s Racconti dimenticati (2002); Anna Maria Ortese’s Il mare non bagna Napoli (1953).

Conference Papers

‘Difficult Things: The Mythopoetic Power of Objects in Italo Calvino's Shorter Fiction’, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University College London. 8th February 2018


‘Feticci e mitopoiesi: uno studio sugli oggetti ne Gli amori difficili

(1970) di Italo Calvino’; Indispensabili e marginali. Les objets dans la littérature italienne contemporaine, Université Côte d'Azur: Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines. 5th -7th April 2018


‘Between fetishes and prostheses: the objects in Italo Calvino’s ‘L’avventura di un fotografo’’, All Things Considered...Material Culture and Memory, University College Cork, 9th-10th November 2018