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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Robert S. C. Gordon

Robert Gordon
Serena Professor of Italian
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335032 (Faculty)

Raised Faculty Building Sidgwick Avenue Cambridge CB9 3DA  


Robert Gordon works on modern literature, cinema and cultural history, focussing in particular on Italy. He is the author or editor of fifteen volumes, including a book on the writer and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity), several volumes on the work of Primo Levi (e.g. Primo Levi's Ordinary Virtues, Auschwitz Report, The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi, Innesti), and a major study of the wider field of postwar cultural responses to the Holocaust (The Holocaust in Italian Culture, 1944-2010). He is also the co-editor of the collection Holocaust Intersections, a special issue of the Jewish history journal Quest, and the volume Culture, Censorship and the State in 20th-Century Italy. His work on cinema includes the book on Pasolini, the BFI Film Classics volume Bicycle Thieves, DVD and Blu-ray audio commentaries, and articles and essays on diverse topics including Holocaust cinema, early film and literature, 'Hollywood on the Tiber', Antonioni and Gianfranco Rosi. He has also written a general account of modern Italian literature, A Difficult Modernity: An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Italian Literature. His most recent book is a comparative study on the role and function of luck in modern narrative (Modern Luck). He has taught at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, is a former Senior Editor of the journal Italian Studies, a former member of the Council of the British School at Rome, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2015.

Enquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students are welcome.


Published works: 


Principal publications:

2023. Modern Luck. Narratives of Fortune in the Long 20th-Century. London: UCL Press

2020 & G. Cinelli (eds). Innesti. Primo Levi e i libri altrui. Oxford: Peter Lang

2016 & E. Perra (eds). Holocaust Intersections in 21st-century Europe, special issue, Quest 10

2013 & A. Bangert, L. Saxton (eds). Holocaust Intersections. Genocide and Visual Culture at the New Millennium. Oxford: Legenda

2012 The Holocaust in Italian Culture, 1944-2010. Stanford: Stanford University Press

2010 ‘Sfacciata fortuna’. La Shoah e il caso / ‘Outrageous Fortune’. Luck and the Holocaust. Turin: Einaudi

2008 Bicycle Thieves. London: Palgrave / BFI Film Classics

2007 (ed.). Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

2006 (ed.). Leonardo De Benedetti & Primo Levi, Auschwitz Report. London: Verso

2005 A Difficult Modernity: An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Italian Literature. London: Duckworth

2005 & G. Bonsaver (eds). Culture, Censorship and the State in Twentieth-Century Italy. Oxford: Legenda

2001 Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press

2000 & M. Belpoliti (eds). Primo Levi, The Voice of Memory. Interviews 1961-1987. New York: New Press

1996. Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press

1994 (ed.). Ignazio Silone, Fontamara, trans. Eric Mosbacher. London: Everyman/ J. M. Dent