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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Simone Monti

Photo of Simone Monti

College: St Catharine's College       


Supervisor: Prof Abigail Brundin


Research Topic: Renaissance women’s writing and literary mourning



Simone completed his BA (2016) and MA (2018) summa cum laude in Italian Literature from the University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore, where he worked under the supervision of Prof Lina Bolzoni. His Bachelor’s thesis focused on Franco Fortini’s metrics and their connection with his poetics and theory of art. In his MA thesis, under the supervision of Prof Maria Cristina Cabani and Prof Alberto Casadei, Simone studied the topos of the mort d’amour in Renaissance lyric poetry and culture.

Simone’s main research interests are Renaissance women’s writing, Petrarch and the tradition of lyric poetry, with a particular focus on literary imitation, and the relationship between literature and social and cultural history. Other research interests include Italian contemporary literature, especially Pasolini and Fortini, and cinema.



Simone is working on the genre of in morte poems by Renaissance women writers. His main research questions revolve around the problematic aspects of mourning and its gendered connotations: he is trying to explore how lyric poetry and social norms on mourning, and female mourning in particular, interacted.

His aim is to understand how these poets created a new public language, crafting their voice between the previous literary tradition, longstanding cultural stereotypes and representations about female mourning, and the social, cultural and ideological context of the time. Simone is undertaking a close reading of the texts that considers how the literary and hyper-codified language of Petrarchan lyric poetry might be subjected to profound revisions related to the new historical and cultural context and to the female gender.

In parallel with this work, Simone is also interrogating what this publicization of private grief meant for the four women writers and how it worked within their local networks both as literary work and as public discourse. He is trying to answer the question of what, in general, the function of this public mourning was, between memorialisation of the deceased husband, self-fashioning strategies, and social and literary mourning practices.



Sykes Studentship in Italian [2019-2022].

Funding for Cross-Faculty Research Seminars - Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, University of Cambridge [2021-2022].

Sixteenth-Century Society and Conference Travel Award [September 2021].

Language Grant - St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge [June 2021].

European Union Erasmus+ Traineeship Programme Funding [2018-2019].

Full Scholarship Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa [2013-2018].



Supervisor for the first-year paper ITA3: Texts and Contexts [2020-21 and 2021-22].

Supervisor for the paper IT8: Italian Literature, Thought, and Culture, 1500-1650 [2021-22]

Language Assistant for ITA1: Use of Italian [2021-22]


Conference papers

‘The Genre of in morte Poetry and the Early Modern Italian Female Voice’. Sixteenth Century Society & Conference, San Diego, 28th-31st October 2021.

‘Death Rites and Contagious Diseases: The Plague and Ritual Mourning in Boccaccio and Petrarch’, From Dante to the present day: disease outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics in language, literature and culture, University of Split, 23rd-24th September 2021.

‘Gender, Genre, Role Model: Connecting the In Morte Poems of Sixteenth-Century Women Writers’, Connections - Italian Graduate Conference 2021, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics - University of Cambridge, 17th-18th June 2021.

‘The BBC Series Peaky Blinders and Machiavelli’s The Prince: A New Understanding of Machiavellianism in English Popular Media?’ - Roundtable ’Machiavelli in Contemporary Media’, American Association for Italian Studies Virtual Conference, 28th May-6th June 2021.

‘The Genre of In Morte Poetry by Renaissance Women Writers: How to Reconcile Text and Context?’, Questions - Italian Graduate Conference 2020, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics - University of Cambridge, 12th-13th October 2020.

‘“Ormai son fatta la madre della Malinconia”: Francesca Turina’s Mourning Experiences and her Negotiation of Literary and Social Agency’, Recovering Women's Identities between Centre and Periphery (16th-20th Centuries), Institute of Modern Languages Research - University of London, 5th-6th March 2020.

‘Tra metrica barbara e metrica biblica. Usi e funzioni dei versi lunghi in Franco Fortini’, Il secolo di Franco Fortini. Conversazioni nel centenario della nascita, University Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski in Warsaw and Centro Studi Franco Fortini in Siena, 19th-20th May 2017.




Simone Monti, ‘La rabbia (1963): il film-saggio e la funzione-Benjamin nel cinema di Pasolini’, The Italianist (2021),

Simone Monti, ‘Un aspetto del petrarchismo di Bembo: il topos della morte per amore’, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, 12 (2020), pp. 165-201.

Simone Monti, ‘Le spie dell’affanno. L’endecasillabo dattilico tra Foglio di via e Poesia ed errore di Franco Fortini’, Italianistica, 47 (2018), pp. 213-224.

Book chapters

Simone Monti, ‘Widows, poetry, and portraits: Livia Spinola and Francesca Turina on the portraits of their dead husbands’, in Petrarch and Portraiture in Sixteenth-Century Italy, Amsterdam University Press (AUP), forthcoming.

Simone Monti, ‘“Mostragli nel mio cor l’essempio vero”: Marino e il ritratto della sua donna nella Galeria’, in Parola all’immagine. Esperienze dell’ecfrasi da Petrarca a Marino, edited by Andrea Torre (Lucca: Maria Pacini Fazzi editore, 2019).

Simone Monti, ‘Tra metrica barbara e metrica biblica. Usi e funzioni dei versi lunghi in Franco Fortini’, in Il secolo di Franco Fortini. Coversazioni nel centenario della nascita, Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Varsavia (Roma: Artemide, 2019).


Other activities and roles

Academic roles and research activities

Founder and co-organiser of the Cambridge Renaissance Seminar - Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics - University of Cambridge [October 2021-Present].

Co-organiser of the Reading group Early Modern Women’s Writing [October 2021-Present].

Organiser of the Graduates’ and Fellows’ Research Seminar at St. Catharine’s College - University of Cambridge [September 2021-Present]

MCR Education Officer at St. Catharine’s College - University of Cambridge [August 2021-Present].

Book Reviewer for the Renaissance Society of America [May 2021-Present].

Director of the student-led academic invites for Italian Literature at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa [2016-17 and 2017-18].

Fieldwork Research at the Franco Fortini Archive in Siena [August 2016].

Public Engagement and Outreach Activities

Participation in the conception of the video Labirinto Ariosto – Giocare col Furioso attraverso i secoli (2018) by Lorenzo Garzella and Filippo Macelloni, produced by Nanof under the supervision of Prof Lina Bolzoni on the 500th anniversary of Orlando Furioso’s first publication [2017-2018].

Participation in the Public Reading of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (‘Pisa legge l’Ariosto. Lettura pubblica itinerante dell’Orlando Furioso’) [June 2016].

Outreach Activity for the Scuola Normale Superiore at the highschool Liceo Classico-Scientifico Ariosto-Spallanzani in Reggio Emilia [May-June 2014].


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