Dr Silvia Bergamini

Dr Silvia Bergamini

Teaching Fellow in Italian

Summary: History of the Italian language; Italian Linguistics, Style and Syntax; 20th-century Sicilian literature (particularly Leonardo Sciascia, Gesualdo Bufalino); Cultural History.

Location: Michael Sadler Building, Room B05


Content Modules

  • Italy: Fascism to the Present (level 1) – ITAL1040
  • Introduction to Dante’s Comedy (level 1) – ITAL2023/24 [seminars]
  • Italy: Regions, Identity and Nation (level 2) – ITAL2300/01
  • Linguistic Variety in Modern Italy (level 2) – ITAL2025/26 [seminars]
  • Italian Cinema: Genre and Social (level 2) – ITAL2200
  • Made in Italy: Italian for Business (level 3) – ITAL3400

 Language Modules

  • Italian Language (level 1) – ITAL1010
  • Italian Language (level 3) – ITAL3010
I am the module leader of ITAL1040, ITAL2300/01 (Semester 1), ITAL2023/24, ITAL2200/01 and ITAL3400.

Teaching Recognition
  • Innovation Award for Teaching in Partnership Awards Nominee, University of Leeds (2015).
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) (2013).
  • Associate Fellow of the UKPSF@Leeds, University of Leeds (2013).

My research

In 2016 I was awarded my PhD on Syntax in Comparison: The Fiction of Leonardo Sciascia and Gesualdo Bufalino, 1981-91, under the supervision of Prof. Brian Richardson and Dr Gigliola Sulis. After completing my PhD, I obtained a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI), University of Leeds (June-Septermber 2016).

My research, carried out through a systematic and detailed analysis, challenges the critical commonplace that portrays Leonardo Sciascia (1921-89) and Gesualdo Bufalino (1920-96) as exponents of opposing stylistic traditions and poetics: respectively, the simple style and the baroque style. A comparative analysis of their fiction, in the decade 1981-91, brought to light the main features of Sciascia’s and Bufalino’s syntax, alongside their syntactical similarities. Sciascia’s syntax is characterized by the concealment of syntactical complexity and a balance between the literary and the oral pole, whereas Bufalino’s syntax is multi-layered, literary and harmonious. Their syntactic strategies aim to achieve different effects: argumentative-logical inquiry, sarcasm or controlled emotionality in the case of Sciascia; a descriptive-introspective, visionary or playful intention in that of Bufalino. Despite this extreme richness in literary and stylistic terms, Sciascia’s and Bufalino’s novels show a common historical trend, which is in line with the evolution of contemporary Italian: a gradual simplification of structures in favour of a greater linearity. In summary, Sciascia and Bufalino are not representative of opposing syntax. They are not antithetical writers in the use of their syntax, but their functions/effects are different (together with lexical and morphological choices).

About me

I graduated in Humanities (Lettere) from the University of Bologna in 2007. My BA thesis, entitled Maps, Labyrinths, Fortresses: Il Conte di Montecristo by Italo Calvino, focused on the system of intertextuality (metaliterature, charts, mazes) of Calvino’s creative rewriting of the famous novel by Alexandre Dumas. I obtained my MA in Italian Linguistics and Literary Civilization, also from the University of Bologna, in March 2010 (with Distinction), with a thesis on The Interdicted Language in the 'Trilogia del Gallismo' by Vitaliano Brancati. Here I investigated the contemporary Italian lexicon by illustrating the exorbitant and euphemistic vocabulary of Brancati as a reaction against the censorship imposed by the Fascist regime and the Christian Democrat Party.

Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Theatre and Performance: Syntactical Strategies in Diceria dell’untore by Gesualdo Bufalino. Society for Italian Studies Biennial Conference, University of Hull (UK), 27-30 June 2017.
  • Gesualdo Bufalino’s Diceria dell’untore: Syntax and Recitative Style. ASMI Postgraduate Summer School, Royal Halloway University of London (UK), 23-24 June 2017.
  • The Representation of Palermo in Sciascia’s Porte Aperte (1987) and Bufalino’s Diceria dell’untore (1981). International conference on Sicily: Language, Art and Culture, University of Pennsylvania (USA), 12 February 2016.
  • Metafiction and Fantasy in Night’s Lies by Gesualdo Bufalino. Research seminars on Reading the Fantastic, University of Leeds, 27 May 2015.
  • Mystification, Power and Justice: A Close Reading of Il contesto by Leonardo Sciascia. Invited presenter. Study group on Leonardo Sciascia’s ‘Mala Azione’ Il Contesto, Todo Modo and 1970s Italian Politics. University of Oxford, 2 May 2014.
  • Comparing the Functions of Leonardo Sciascia’s and Gesualdo Bufalino’s Syntax: Methodological Remarks. Research seminars On Methodology (Bologna, Leeds, Warwick). University of Leeds video-conference with Bologna and Warwick, 6 March 2014.
  • The Power of the Joke and the Word: Night's Lies by Gesualdo Bufalino. Postgraduate Colloquium and Training Day (Durham-Leeds-Manchester). University of Durham, 22 November 2013; and SIS (Society of Italian studies) Postgraduate Colloquium on Questions of Power: Expressions, Representations, Interpretations. University of Reading, 8 November 2013; and Language@Leeds research seminars. University of Leeds, 14 November 2013.
  • Investigating Sciascia's Syntax and Poetics: Porte aperte. SIS (Society of Italian Studies) Biennial Conference. University of Durham, 10 July 2013; and Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Research Day. University of Leeds, 3 May 2013.


Una complessità controllata: la sintassi in 'Porte aperte' di Leonardo Sciascia (8,912 words). Accepted by The Italianist in Jan. 2017.


  • LHRI Postdoctoral fellowship. University of Leeds, 2016.
  • Fully funded University Research Scholarship (fees and maintenance). University of Leeds, 2011-15.
  • Postgraduate conference funds, Faculty of Arts. University of Leeds, 2015.

Organising Responsibilities and Other Projects

I am member of the designing and organizational team of LivItaly (2012-), a project coordinated by Italian in the University of Leeds for the promotion of Italian cultures in Leeds and Yorkshire. I have collaborated in planning, publicizing and organizing events with well-known Italian artists and writers (such as Vinicio Capossela, Gianfranco Carofiglio, Massimo Carlotto) in collaboration with Opera North in Leeds and with Leeds City Library. I am also the Web content manager of LivItaly web page.

I was part of the Organizing Committee and grant recipient of the postgraduate and early career workshop Tools for textual representations: language, style and expressive strategies, University of Leeds (2015). In 2013 I was part of the organizing team of the Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Research Day, University of Leeds and in 2013 I was volunteer member of the organizing committee of the international conference Retold resold transformed. Crime fiction in the modern era, University of Leeds.