Maddalena Moretti

Maddalena Moretti

PhD Researcher in Italian Literature


Summary: Pier Paolo Pasolini; Dante Alighieri; intertextuality; multilingualism

My Research

I am currently working on my PhD thesis ‘Come una specie di guida’: Pasolini’s re-uses of Dante in his theories and practise of realism, under the supervision of Dr Gigliola Sulis and Professor Claire Honess. My thesis investigates Pasolini’s relationship with Dante chronologically looking at both Pasolini’s literary and filmic production with the aim to show that, during his career, Pasolini elaborates complex theories regarding realism through a continuous dialogue with Dante and with twentieth-century Dante criticism.

In an interview with Oswald Stack, Pasolini states that he introduced a ‘certain realism’, however, he says ‘it would be hard to define it exactly’. Not only is the concept of realism difficult to define, but the effort Pasolini faces when he is asked about it and the ambiguity of his definition make the entire discourse even more complicated. It is not then surprising that, taking into consideration Pasolini’s career, scholars have given different definitions of realism: mimetic realism, figural realism, creatural realism, absolute realism, mystical realism, etc. The point of my thesis is not to define which definition is more suitable for Pasolini’s oeuvre – which will be an unfruitful operation for an author who loves to contradict himself. I will rather conceptualise Pasolini’s ‘certain realism’ throughout his literary and filmic production by showing how important the dialogue with Dante was to him, as he defines the Commedia as ‘[la] più realistica delle opere poetiche italiane’ (1952). My thesis will however take into account also Dante’s less studied works – such as the Rime, the Vita nova, and the De vulgari eloquentia – to better frame the relationship between the two authors.

About me

I previously studied at the University of Bologna where I completed a MA in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Linguistics (2012-14). My dissertation was on the problem of the salvation of the pagans in Dante’s Commedia«D’Aristotile e di Plato e di molt’altri»: la questione della salvezza dei pagani nella “Commedia”I completed my BA in Modern Literature at the University of Bologna (2009-12) with a thesis on History of Modern Art: La villa dell’Ambra. Poggio a Caiano tra celebrazione e filosofia neoplatonica.

In 2014 I worked as Editor & Proofreader intern at Odoya s.r.l. (Bologna, Italy).

In 2015 I worked as Copywriter & Community manager intern at O-one s.r.l. (Bologna, Italy).

In 2016 I worked as Communication Trainee at Tetra Pak (Modena, Italy).


Dante’s and Pasolini’s concern for the ‘vulgari eloquentia’ («L'ombra sua torna»: Dante, the twentieth century and beyond - University of Leeds, 24-25 March 2017).

The language of realism: Dante’s and Pasolini’s concern for the ‘vulgari eloquentia’ (SIS Biennial Conference - University of Hull, 27-30 June 2017).

Event Organisation

Co-founder and co-organiser of Leeds Cineforum – a film club that organises film screenings inside and outside Leeds University campus.

«L'ombra sua torna»: Dante, the twentieth century and beyond (University of Leeds, 24-25 March 2017).

Sowing Diversity: Crossing Language & Culture Borders – 2017 LCS PGRs Conference (University of Leeds, 5 May 2017).

Film Aesthetics: Bowie, Berkeley, Beckett – one-day workshop on early film theory and modernist aesthetics (University of Leeds, 21 June 2017).