Irene Zanini-Cordi



Associate Professor

Professor Zanini-Cordi (Ph. D., Italian Studies, University of California, Berkeley) specializes in Renaissance, 18th- and 19th- century and contemporary Italian literature, with emphasis on Critical Theory and women's writing.

Professor Zanini-Cordi's first book, Donne sciolte, explores the figure of the woman abandoned by her lover in Italian literature. Her current research interest is on Social Network Theory, Italian salons and salonnières, and on women's writing in 18th- and 19th- century Italy. She is completing a book manuscript focusing on the writings of the women who animated Italian salons/salotti di cultura from just before the French Revolution to the unification of Italy.

Professor Zanini-Cordi is the recipient of several grants and fellowships among which, most recently, the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (NEH) (2011-2012), and the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar at the American Academy in Rome (2011).

Research Interest

18th- and 19th- century Italian literature, Italian and French salons
Social Network Theory, Narrative and Critical Theory
Women's writing
The novella and short story
Contemporary Italian literature
Renaissance literature

Courses Taught

Trecento Writers: "A Journey into Love's Inferno with Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio"
Renaissance Literature: "The Struggle for Power"
"Renaissance Tales of Love, Laughter, Power and Revenge"
18th- and 19th- century Italian literature: "Coffee Talk: Salon Culture in the Literature, History, and Manners of the Italian 18th- and 19th- Century"
"Fashioning Italian Women, Fashioning a Nation"
Italian Women Writers: "A Woman's Place"
Readings in Contemporary Italian Prose: "Between La dolce vita and La grande bellezza: The (In)Consistency of Italian Identity"
Film: Classic Italian Cinema
Film: Filming the Italian Multicultural Experience
The Novella and the Short Story: "Narrating Desire, Desiring Narration"
Critical Theory (and its Application to non-English Literatures)
Survey of Italian Literature: From the Origins to the 18th Century.
Modern Italian Culture: From the Unification to the Present

Selected Publications


  • Donne sciolte. Abbandono ed identità femminile nella letteratura italiana. Ravenna, Longo Editore, 2008.
  • Women before the Facebook Nation: Salons, Social Networking, and Italian Identity. In progress.

Articles and Book Chapters:

  • "La scrittura ontologizzante. Sentimenti, corpo e letteratura. Bizzarri commerci nelle lettere private di Elisabetta Mosconi Contarini all'abate Aurelio De' Giorgi Bertola" in Favellare ai lontani. Tipologie epistolari tra Sette e Ottocento, Cesati Editore, 2015.
  • "Botteghe da Caffè, Sociability and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Venice", NeMLA XXXV, 2013.
  • " Neither Exile nor Migrant: Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso as Nomad" in Femmes Écrivains/Women Writers at the Crossroads of Languages, Mētis Presses, 2009.
  • "The Seduction of Ariosto's Olimpia: Mythopoetic Rescue of an Abandoned Woman", Pacific Coast Philology, Vol. 42, No.1, 2007.
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