Professor Lucia Boldrini

Staff details

Position Professor of English and Comparative Literature,
Email l.boldrini (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7434
Professor Lucia Boldrini

Lucia Boldrini is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature. She convenes the 'Comparative Literature and Criticism' pathway of the MA Literary Studies and is President of the International Comparative Literature Association.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, University of Leicester 1997
  • Dottorato di Ricerca (PhD), University of Pisa, Italy 1995
  • Laurea in Lingue e Letterature Straniere [Modern Languages], University of Pisa. 110/110 summa cum laude 1989

Teaching and Supervision

Research interests

Principal areas of research:
1) Fictional Biographies and Autobiographies of Historical Characters (Biofiction, Heterobiography).
My first monograph came out in 1998, in Italian (Biografie fittizie e personaggi storici); Autobiographies of Others: Historical Subjects and Literary Fiction was published by Routledge in 2012. I have co-edited the journal issue ‘Autobiografictions’ (2004, with Peter Davies) and the book Experiments in Life-Writing: Intersections of Auto/Biography and Fiction (2017, with Julia Novak). I co-edit the Bloomsbury Biofiction Studies series with Michael Lackey and Monica Latham.

2) Comparative and World Literature
As well as working ‘in’ comparative literature, I am interested in it as a subject, in its relationship with related practices such as translation, and from a longer historical perspective than is usually considered. I have published articles in and edited issues of international journals such as Translation and Literature, Comparative Critical Studies and CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture. I serve as the current president of the International Comparative Literature Association.

3) James Joyce, Dante, and Modernist Medievalism.
I am especially interested in intertextual relations between medieval and modern writers, texts and ideas. The monograph Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations was published by Cambridge UP in 2001 (reissued in 2009); the edited volume Medieval Joyce came out in 2002; and I have published a number of articles in this area, and organised conferences and workshops. From 2000 to 2006 I was a Trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation.

4) Literature of the Mediterranean.
I am interested in literature about and from the Mediterranean – both its Southern and Northern sides. In 2016-18 I was Academic Co-Director of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership “Mediterranean Imaginaries: Literature, Arts, Culture” with Ivan Callus and Stella Borg Barthet of the University of Malta.

Publications and research outputs


Boldrini, Lucia. 2012. Autobiographies of Others: Historical Subjects and Literary Fiction. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-50737-0

Boldrini, Lucia. 2001. Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations: Language and Meaning in Finnegans Wake. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521792769

Boldrini, Lucia. 1998. Biografie fittizie di personaggi storici. (Auto)biografia, soggettività, teoria nel romanzo contemporaneo [Fictional Biographies of Historical Characters. (Auto)biography, Subjectivity, Theory in the Contemporary Novel]. Pisa: ETS. ISBN 88-467-0103-8

Edited Book

Boldrini, Lucia and Novak, Julia, eds. 2017. Experiments in Life-Writing: Intersections of Auto/Biography and Fiction. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-319-55413-6

Boldrini, Lucia, ed. 2002. Medieval Joyce. Amsterdam ; New York, NY: Rodopi. ISBN 9789042014091

Edited Journal

Boldrini, Lucia; Grishakova, Marina and Reynolds, Matthew, eds. 2013. New Work in Comparative Literature in Europe, CLCWeb: Comparative Literature amd Culture, 15(7).

Boldrini, Lucia and Sweeney, Carole, eds. 2013. Fractured, Travelling, Transformed Narratives, Comparative Critical Studies, 10(3-supp). 1744-1854

Boldrini, Lucia and Mussgnug, Florian, eds. 2008. Comparative Critical Studies: Folly, Comparative Critical Studies, 5(2-3). 1744-1854

Boldrini, Lucia and Davies, Peter, eds. 2003. Comparative Critical Studies: Autobiografictions. Comparatist Essays, Comparative Critical Studies, 1(3). 1744-1854

Book Section

Boldrini, Lucia. 2023. Chapter 22. Introduction (World Literature). In: Péter Hajdu and Xiaohing Zhang, eds. Literatures of the World and the Future of Comparative Literature: Proceedings of the 22nd Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association. 102 Leiden: Brill, pp. 273-283. ISBN 9789004538498

Boldrini, Lucia. 2021. Biographical Fiction’s Challenge to Realism: Patricia Duncker’s Sophie and the Sibyl and Alicia Giménez Bartlett’s Una habitación ajena. In: Dirk Göttsche; Rosa Mucignat and Robert Weninger, eds. Mapping Realism (Volume I of Landscapes of Realism Rethinking Literary Realism(s) in Global Comparative Perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 775-791. ISBN 9789027208064

Boldrini, Lucia. 2021. Rock, Mirror, Mirage: Europe, Elsewhere. In: Vladimir Biti; Joep Leerssen and Vivian Liska, eds. The Idea of Europe: The Clash of Projections. Leiden: Brill, pp. 99-120. ISBN 9789004449442

Boldrini, Lucia. 2020. Making assumptions in Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup. In: Paula Alexandra Guimarães, ed. Intercultural Poetics: Literary Representations of the Foreign Other / Poéticas Interculturais. Representações Literárias do Outro como Estrangeiro. Braga: Húmus Edition, pp. 25-38. ISBN 9789897554476

Boldrini, Lucia. 2014. Among Schoolchildren: Joyce's "Night Lesson" and Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe. In: Haun Saussy and Gerald Gillespie, eds. Intersections, Interfaces, Interdisciplines: Literature with Other Arts. 30 Brussels: Peter Lang, pp. 35-46. ISBN 9782875741561

Boldrini, Lucia. 2013. The Uncertain Mediterranean Borders of Comparative Literature. In: Adnan Karaismailoğlu and Yusuf Öz, eds. IV Uluslararasi Karşilaştirmali Edebiyat Bilimi Kongresi, "Kültürler ve Değerler Buluşması" / IV International Comparative Literature Congress, "Meeting of Cultures and Values", Bildiriler / Proceedings. Kırıkkale: Kırıkkale Universitesi Yayilari [Kırıkkale University Publications], pp. 441-454. ISBN 978-975-8626-04-5

Boldrini, Lucia. 2011. Rattling the Cage of Meaning: Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table, the Two Cultures, and the Ethical Duty of the Writer. In: Cedric Barfoot and Valeria Tinkler Villani, eds. Restoring the Mystery of the Rainbow: Literature’s Refraction of Science. 47 Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 187-206. ISBN 978-90-420-3325-2

Boldrini, Lucia. 2011. Drunkards, Simoniac Preachers and Unjust Stewards: A Chaucerian Intertext for “Grace”. In: Raffaella Baccolini; Delia Chiaro; Chris Rundle and Sam Whitsitt, eds. A Joyceful of Talkatalka. From Friendshapes for Rosa Maria Bollettieri Bosinelli. Bologna: Bononia University Press, pp. 45-53. ISBN 978-88-7395-570-2

Boldrini, Lucia. 2009. The Anamorphosis of Photography in Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. In: Carmen Concilio and Richard J. Lane, eds. Image Technologies in Canadian Literature: Narrative, Film and Photography. Brussels: Peter Lang, pp. 31-46. ISBN 978-90-5201-474-6

Boldrini, Lucia. 2003. Ex Sterco Dantis: Dante's Post-Babelian Linguistics in the Wake. In: Laurent Milesi, ed. James Joyce and the Difference of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 180-194. ISBN 9780521623377

Boldrini, Lucia. 2003. 'Intimations of proximate dawn': re-viewing Joyce's Ulysses through the eye of Kubrick's Space Odyssey. In: Mario Curreli and Fausto Ciompi, eds. Many-voicèd fountains: Studi di anglistica e comparatistica in onore di Elsa Linguanti. Pisa: ETS, pp. 360-371. ISBN 8846707885

Boldrini, Lucia. 2002. Let Dante Be Silent: Finnegans Wake and the Medieval Theory of Polysemy. In: Lucia Boldrini, ed. Medieval Joyce. (13) Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, pp. 199-218. ISBN 9789042014091

Boldrini, Lucia. 1999. The Ragged Edge of Miracles; or, A Word or Two On Those Jack Hodgins Novels. In: Elsa Linguanti; Francesco Casotti and Carmen Concilio, eds. Coterminous Worlds: Magical Realism and Contemporary Post-Colonial Literature in English. Amesterdam: Rodopi, pp. 83-101. ISBN 9789042004481

Boldrini, Lucia. 1998. The Rule of Analogy and Contrappasso: Babel, Dante, Joyce and the Redemption of Language. In: Clive Hart; George Sandulescu; Bonnie Kime Scott and Fritz Senn, eds. Images of Joyce: Proceedings of the XII International James Joyce Symposium. 1 Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, pp. 183-187. ISBN 0861404092

Boldrini, Lucia. 1998. The Artist Paring His Quotations: Aesthetic and Ethical Implications of the Dantean Intertext in Dubliners. In: Harold Mosher and Rosa Maria Bollettieri Bosinelli, eds. Re-Joycing: New Readings of Joyce’s Dubliners. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, pp. 228-246. ISBN 0813120578


Boldrini, Lucia. 2023. Biographical Fictions and the Writing of the World. Recherche littéraire / Literary Research, 39, ISSN 0849–0570

Boldrini, Lucia. 2022. Biofiction, Heterobiography and the Ethics of Speaking of, for and as Another. Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature, 6(1), pp. 18-37. ISSN 2520-4920

Boldrini, Lucia. 2020. Constructing Character in an Unequal World: Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup and the Necessity of World Literature. Foreign Language and Literature Research, 2020(4), pp. 9-28. ISSN 1003-6822

Boldrini, Lucia. 2015. ‘“L’esprit humain, qui semble voyager d’un pays à l’autre”: Considerazioni sulle relazioni storiche tra traduzione e letteratura comparata’. Cadernos de Tradução, 35, pp. 13-30. ISSN 2175-7968

Boldrini, Lucia. 2014. Comparative Literature, Ancient Rome, and the Crisis of Modern European History. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 15(7), 3. ISSN 1481-4374

Boldrini, Lucia; Grishakova, Marina and Reynolds, Matthew. 2013. Introduction to New Work in Comparative Literature in Europe. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 15(7), pp. 1-8.

Boldrini, Lucia. 2010. Comparative literature and translation, historical breaks and continuing debates: Can the past teach us something about the future? diacrítica. Dossier Literatura Comparada,, 24(3), pp. 181-199. ISSN 0808-8967

Boldrini, Lucia. 2009. Heterobiography, Hypocriticism, and the Ethics of Authorial Responsibility. Primerjalna književnost, special issue: The Author: Who or What is Writing Literature?(3), pp. 249-259. ISSN 0351-1189

Boldrini, Lucia. 2009. Anna Banti and Virginia Woolf: A Grammar of Responsibility. Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, 10, pp. 135-149. ISSN 1560-2168

Boldrini, Lucia and Mussgnug, Florian. 2008. Guest Editors' Introduction. Comparative Critical Studies, 5(2-3), pp. 115-124. ISSN 1744-1854

Boldrini, Lucia. 2007. Literature and Science. Full Stop? Colloquium Helveticum, 37, pp. 55-72. ISSN 01793780

Boldrini, Lucia. 2007. 'Keeping our nerve': Scientific and historical paradigms in John Banville's Doctor Copernicus. Primerjalna Knjizevnost, 30, pp. 141-157. ISSN 0351-1189

Boldrini, Lucia. 2006. Comparative Literature in the Twenty-First Century: A View from Europe and the UK. Comparative Critical Studies, 3(1-2), pp. 13-23. ISSN 1744-1854

Boldrini, Lucia. 2004. "Allowing it to speak out of him": The Heterobiographies of David Malouf, Antonio Tabucchi and Marguerite Yourcenar. Comparative Critical Studies, 1(3), pp. 243-263. ISSN 1744-1854

Boldrini, Lucia. 2003. Translating the Middle Ages: Modernism and the Ideal of the Common Language. Translation and Literature, 12(1), pp. 41-68. ISSN 0968-1361

Boldrini, Lucia. 1995. (Im)Proper Wife: Robert Graves' Wife to Mr Milton. Focus on Robert Graves and His Contemporaries, 2(4), pp. 15-19. ISSN 0190-650x

Boldrini, Lucia. 1994. The Failure of Argumentation and the Disjunction of Aesthetics in Robert Browning’s “Pictor Ignotus”. Linguistica e Letteratura, 19, pp. 155-181. ISSN 0392-6915

Boldrini, Lucia. 1993. "It was part of the joke, you see”: The Author in the Novel between Theoretical Death and Biographical Life. Usure/Rupture GRAAT N° 13, 13, pp. 133-148. ISSN 0997-4970

Boldrini, Lucia. 1991. ”The Sisters” and the Inferno: An Intertextual Network. Style, 25(3), pp. 453-465. ISSN 0039-4238

Further profile content

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

Conferences and talks

2019: ‘Biofiction, heterobiography and the ethics of speaking of, for and as another’
Keynote lecture, the 9th International Convention on Ethical Literary Criticism: The Ethico-Political Turn in Literary Studies: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives, Zhejiang University

2021: Lives, Places, Worlds
Keynote lecture at the conference ‘Biofiction as World Literature’, University of Leuven, 15-18 September 2021

Areas of teaching and supervision

I have extensive teaching and examining experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, in seminars and lectures, on modules I have devised as well as on colleagues’ modules as part of a team. My teaching is linked to my research interests, but I also enjoy teaching foundation and survey modules.

I was among the first at Goldsmiths to be awarded a fellowship to develop web-based teaching tools, and in 2011 was the recipient of a student-nominated Peake Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award. Students on my modules have won many essay prizes, notably the Emory Elliot international essay competition, organised by the Literary Encyclopedia (2009 and 2010, with essays from the challenging module ‘Literature in Question: Writing since the Second World War’); and the British Comparative Literature Association’s Arthur Terry Postgraduate Essay Prize (several since 2014 with essays from the MA modules ‘Writing the Mediterranean’ and ‘Studies in Comparative Literature and Criticism’).

My recent and current areas of supervision include projects on fictional auto/biography, 20th- and 21st-century fiction, James Joyce and modernism, various aspects of comparative literature, as well as the critical components of PhDs in Creative Writing.

I welcome new applications in all these areas.