Graduate Students

Lorenzo Filippo Bacchini earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and philosophy at the University of Bologna, and a master’s in journalism and a master of arts in Italian studies at Columbia University. His primary interest is in medieval and Renaissance Italian literature, but he is also interested in other countries’ literature, as well as history and cinema. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, he worked as a journalist in Rome, as a press agent for a cinematographic house of production in Bologna, and has taught in various different settings including Italy, India, and Ghana. He also has experience as an author and poet, having published several poems, some short stories, and two short movies in Italy.

Francesco Brenna earned a bachelor’s degree (2010) and a master’s degree (2013) in Italian at Università Cattolica in Milan, and he is now a PhD student in the Italian program at Johns Hopkins University. His dissertation project, temporarily titled There and Back Again: Milton and Italian Literature, studies the reciprocal influence of John Milton and Italian authors. His researches focus on Italian epic romances and the epic tradition (Pulci, Ariosto, Fonte, Tasso, Milton)—especially intertextuality and the relationship between poetry and knowledge. His other area of interest is the Italian Novecento, namely foreign influences on Italian poetry, the relationship between literature and sport, and Federico Fellini. He has taught Italian as a second language in Italy and he now teaches Italian courses at Johns Hopkins. He has also studied jazz piano and arranging and taken courses at Peabody Conservatory. He has worked both as a performer and as a piano teacher.

Alberto Fabris is a former Ph.D. student in philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (2014-2017). He will defend this year a thesis about the concept of desire in Giordano Bruno philosophy. He was élève de la Sélection Internationale de l’École Normale Supérieure de Paris in the department of philosophy. In 2013, he obtained his Master 1 in history of philosophy at the university of Paris-Sorbonne with a dissertation on Bruno’s De la causa, principio et uno and his Master 2 (2014) in political studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales with a thesis on Machiavelli’s theory about the flux of political forms. During the past few years, he worked on the natural and the political philosophy of the Renaissance, on the art of memory and on several XVI century authors. He published an article about Montaigne’s reflection on death and about Ariosto’s echoes in Bruno. In addition to the Renaissance, he’s interested in political thought, theory of literature, feminism, psychanalysis and 1960s and 1970s authors.

Victoria Fanti graduated from Yale University in 2013 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. She is now a fifth-year graduate student writing her dissertation, tentatively titled Killer Queens, on homicidal women in Italian Renaissance tragedy. Other research interests include literary representations of madness, explorations of the liminal space between life and the afterlife, depictions of the monstrous and grotesque, and the gothic.

Audrey Fastuca earned her degree in philosophy and art history at the George Washington University. After an extended period of living in Naples, she became fascinated with “The Southern Question,” in particular, how the perception of a primitive, pre-industrialized Southern Italy was constructed in literature, film, and documentary. Her research has a regional-focus and centers on the cultural exportation of the South via 19th and 20th-century literature and documentary film, blending methods of anthropological inquiry and eco-criticism in order to consider the influences of dialect, cultural expression, and environmental context.

Denis Forasacco

Catherine Freddo

Chiara Girardi her MA from Boston College in 2015. During her time at BC, she was the recipient of the Donald J. White Award for Excellence in Teaching and the S.L. Nguyen Summer Research Grant, which allowed her to do research on operatic theaters at the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome. While at Johns Hopkins, she was awarded the Velli Prize for the Best Graduate Essay by the American Boccaccio Association for her work “European Reaction to the Beauty and Wealth of Saracen Women”, which will be published on Heliotropia. She is now a third year PhD student in Italian at Johns Hopkins University, specializing in language debates, gender studies and the reception of antiquity. Her secondary interests include the intersection of music and literature and Mediterranean studies.

Alessio Panichi graduated in philosophy from the University of Pisa in October 2005 with a thesis on Giordano Bruno’s philosophy. In July 2009, he obtained his PhD from the National Institute for Renaissance Studies (Florence) by defending a thesis on Giordano Bruno’s polemic against the myth of the Golden Age. Over the last eight years, Panichi was postdoctoral fellow of both the Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge at the University of Pisa and some German institutions, e.g. Herzog August Bibliothek, Leibniz Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek, and the Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt. His research activity has been focusing so far on the history of political thought, particularly on the interplay between religion, politics, and philosophy in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century culture, as well as on the political ideas in twentieth-century Italy. During his research periods in Italy and Germany, Panichi worked on different features of such topics and wrote several articles on Tommaso Campanella, Kaspar Schoppe, Norberto Bobbio, and Luigi Firpo. He is also the author of a book concerning Campanella’s political thinking (Il volto fragile del potere. Religione e politica nel pensiero di Tommaso Campanella, Pisa, ETS, 2015).

Beatrice Variolo

Alberto Luca Zuliani earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Italian Literature at the University of Turin with a dissertation on the twentieth-century poet Mario Luzi. His current research focuses on the forms and modes of literary representation of the divinity in the Italian Renaissance, with particular reference to the implications that the rendition of divine speech suggests in terms of limits and possibilities of the poetic word in the Christian epic tradition (Vida, Sannazaro, Tasso, Milton). An interest in the stylistic features of poetry also informs his research on both Renaissance and twentieth-century lyric poets. Other areas of interest include the intersection between politics and literature, politics and cinema, and the use of laughter in literature.