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Miss Emma Wall

PhD Research

BA Hons (Dunelm), PGCE (Cantab)

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PhD Research in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures  


Academic Biography

Final-year PhD candidate in Italian studies and AHRC Northern Bridge award holder. I completed my BA at Durham University, achieving first class honours. My interests focused on Classical Reception in Medieval Italy, with a thesis on Dante's employment of Aristotelian philosophy to structure the moral topography of the Inferno. Following the completion of my BA I was awarded a research grant to work on the exhibition 'Heaven, Hell and Hope: A Journey Through Life and the Afterlife with Dante' (Palace Green Library, 2 December 2017-18 March 2018), preparing exhibition materials relating to Dante's Commedia, focusing in particular on the role of women in the Commedia and the reception of the work up to the modern day.

I completed my PGCE at Cambridge, with a thesis on the efficacy of Latin etymologies as a vocabulary acquisition technique for learners of modern Italian, which was published in the JCT. I maintain a strong interest in language pedagogy, in particular using literature and visual culture to enhance language acquisition at school level.

My PhD research focuses on Petrarch's Canzoniere and the complex evolution of the collection in the context of classical and vernacular poetry collections.

I teach on the 2nd year undergraduate module 'The World of Dante' and the 4th year undergraduate module 'From the Middle Ages to Modernity: The World of Petrarch.'

In the 2019-2020 academic year I completed an AHRC-funded placement in the archives of the Venerable English College, Rome.

Conference Papers and Presentations

Convener of the conference 'Text and Textuality', Durham University, 15-16 July 2021.

'Identity and Inversion in Dante's Eden', International Medieval Congress, Leeds [online] 5-9 July 2021.

'Visions and Dreams of Laura in Petrarch’s Canzoniere and the Language of the Liminal', Canadian Association for Italian Studies Annual Conference, 4-12 June 2021.

'Disease Management in an International Context: The Venerable English College and the 1656-1657 Plague Epidemic in Rome', A fame, peste et bello, libera nos domine. Relgious Orders, Public Health, and Disease, DePaul University, Chicago, 20-21 May 2021.

'Landscape, Space and Inversion in Dante's Eden', In via Dante network Colloquium, 24 February 2021.

'From donna to Madonna: Petrarch's canzone 366 and the architecture of the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta', International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 6-10 July 2020.

'An English Garden in Rome: The Farnese Gardens and the Venerable English College from 1550 to the present', MEMSA Community Course, May 2020.

'Italian Poetry, Augustan Design: Classical Traces in the Conception and Architecture of Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta', at 'Becoming' and the Roman World, University of Durham, 11-12 September 2019.

'The Dream Vision in 15th and 16th Century Italian Poetry: Symbolism and Prophecy', at Durham Early Modern Conference, Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Durham, 22-24 July 2019.

'Voice and Textual Perspective: Lyric in Dante's Commedia', at 'Lyric and Liturgy in Dante's Commedia', University of Cambridge, 5 July 2019.

Current Research Interests

My PhD research considers the evolution of Petrarch's Canzoniere, focusing on the final stages of the collection's development. The (often disjointed) manuscript tradition of the text provides a wealth of evidence to testify to the evolution of the collection and its architecture. I consider the restructuring of the closure of the collection in the context of Petrarch's fascination with Augustan poetry collections, drawing on Petrarch's study of Latin poetry identifiable on his manuscripts of his favourite works. This is set in the context of the both the nature of an organised collection of poetry, but considering also the theological and philosophical backdrop to the final resequencing in Petrarch's attempt to curate an idealised autobiographical narrative.


2019-2020: AHRC Northern Bridge Placement Scheme Grant

2019: AHRC Northern Bridge Research Training Support Grant

2018-2022: AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Partnership Scholarship

2017: Collingwood College Research Grant

Research interests

  • Petrarch
  • Dante
  • Classical Reception in Medieval Italy
  • Italian Renaissance Literature
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Early Italian Poetry