skip to content


Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Ryan Pepin





Dr Heather Webb

About me:

Pembroke College, Cambridge (BA)

Balliol College, Oxford (MSt)

Pembroke College, Cambridge (PhD, ongoing)

My research:

I study rhythm in Dante’s poetry. In particular, I study units created by rhythm that repeat in the Commedia. I am fascinated by these ‘rhythmical figures’ (as Gianfranco Contini dubbed them) because they shed new light on how the poem was composed, and show new proximities between the poem and some of its contexts – courtly, liturgical, even legal. I want to add close rhythmical analysis to the philologist’s set of tools, because it lets us focus something distinctive about Dante’s poetry: how the poem recollects and re-shapes preceding traditions, to make of them something new.


ITA3: Introduction to Italian 3: Texts and Contexts

Practical Criticism and Critical Practice (English Faculty)

I also teach an optional interdisciplinary course, introducing students reading English to Italian poetry in the original and in translation.


‘Contini’s Dante and Valéry’s Mallarmé: A Criticism in Double Portraiture’, Le Tre Corone. Forthcoming.

‘“ET VSQVE AD NVBES VERITAS TVA”: Grace and Voice in the Marriage Song’, Religion & Literature. Forthcoming.

McCormick Kilbride, Laura (co-authored), ‘On Grace and Poetry’, Religion and Literature. Introduction to a co-edited special section in Religion & Literature. Forthcoming.

‘The volgarizzamento of the Imola Commentary to the Commedia: The Identification of a Hand in MS Oxford, Bodleian Canon. Ital. 107, present in MS Paris, BNF Italien 78, with Notes Towards a Venetian Milieu’, Cambridge University Library. Winner of the Gordon Duff Prize.

Conference papers:

‘“[O]rando grazia conven che s’impetri”: Participating in prayer in a fourteenth-century Commedia illumination cycle’, paper presented at the Society for Italian Studies Biennial Conference, University of Oxford, UK, 28 September 2015

‘Mood as Form: Viktor Pöschl’s Virgil and Moody Epic’, paper presented at the conference on Mood: Aesthetic, Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives, University of Warwick, UK, 7 May 2016

Other activities:

Together with a colleague in English, I organize a ‘Theology and Poetics’ reading group.

Also, together with a colleague in English, I organize the ‘Logos Colloquium’, which investigates the intersections of theology and poetry.