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 at Goldsmiths and Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature.  She convenes the 'Comparative Literature and Criticism' pathway of the MA Literary Studies and is Vice-President of the International Comparative Literature Association.

Academic qualifications

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


Prof. Lucia Boldrini has extensive teaching and examining experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, in seminars and lectures, on modules she has devised as well as on colleagues’ modules as part of a team. Her teaching is linked to her research interests, but she also enjoys teaching foundation and survey modules.

Lucia 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 Peake Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award, for which she was nominated by students. In 2009 and 2010 three of the students that had taken her very challenging course ‘Literature in Question: Writing since the Second World War' won essay prizes in the Emory Elliot international essay competition, organised by the Literary Encyclopedia, and in 2014 and 2017, students on her MA module “Writing the Mediterranean” won prizes in the British Comparative Literature Association’s Arthur Terry Postgraduate Essay Prize.

Her areas of teaching include: Theories, history, methodologies and the practice of comparative literature; Modernism, Postmodernism, Post-War II writing, Joyce; Dante; fictional auto/biography, literature of the Mediterranean area.

Examples of modules currently or recently taught

Studies in Comparative Literature and Criticism (core module for the MA in Comparative Literary Studies, pathway in Comparative Literature and Criticism)

The module includes sessions on the history, methodologies, concerns of comparative literature; its relationship with translation studies and world literature; classical, medieval and modern versions of concepts such as imitation, translation, influence, intertextuality, tradition. It associates theoretical focus with comparative readings where the concepts are put into practice and tested, for example following the development of heroic figures, such as Odysseus/Ulysses or Dido, of topoi (e.g. representations of the underworld), of myths (such as Arachne, or Narcissus and Echo). It also considers representations of colonial and cultural encounters or clashes and how identity is formed within these encounters. Texts studied range from classical and medieval to modern and contemporary.

Writing the Mediterranean.

This MA module, part of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Mediterranean Imaginaries: Literature, Arts, Culture (2016-2018; formerly, an Erasmus Intensive Programme, 2012-2014), was taught over 2 intensive weeks in late March/early April at the Valletta campus of the University of Malta. The programme was the result of a collaboration between 6 European universities (Goldsmiths and Malta, alongside Nova Gorica, Braga, Florence, Cagliari) and a North African one (Carthage); it thus brought together students from many different countries and cultures, who benefitted from the expertise of a wide range of scholars to study writings and art from and about the Mediterranean region.

Areas of supervision

Recent and current topics of supervision:

  • fantastic literature and magical realism
  • James Joyce
  • Fictional auto/biography
  • 21st century fiction
  • Forster & Saba
  • Children fairy-tale picture-books
  • journeying to the South in modern(ist) literature
  • journeys of dissent and descent
  • critical projects of PhDs in Creative Writing


Research Interests

Principal areas of research:

‌1) James Joyce, Dante, and Modernist Medievalism.

Prof. Lucia Boldrini is 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 and reissued in paperback in 2009. She has also edited the volume Medieval Joyce (Rodopi, 2002), published a number of articles, and organized conferences / workshops in this area. From 2000 to 2006 Lucia was a Trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation.

2) Fictional Biographies and Autobiographies of Historical Characters (Biofiction, Heterobiography).

Lucia has been investigating this field for many years. Her first monograph on the subject came out in 1998, in Italian (Biografie fittizie e personaggi storici), and Autobiographies of Others: Historical Subjects and Literary Fiction was published by Routledge in 2012. She co-edited the journal issue ‘autobiografictions’ (2004) , and more recently she has co-edited Experiments in Life-Writing: Intersections of Auto/Biography and Fiction (2017), with Julia Novak (University of Salzburg); she has also published various articles in internationally recognized journals (such as the Slovenian journal Primerjalna književnost).

 3) Comparative Literature

As well as working ‘in’ comparative literature, Lucia is also interested in it as a subject, in its relationship with neighbouring practices such as translation, and from a longer historical perspective than is usually considered. She has published articles in, and edited issues of, prestigious journals such as Translation and LiteratureComparative Critical Studies and CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture

Prof. Lucia Boldrini is also interested in aspects of the relationship between literature and science, and writing of the Mediterranean area.



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

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 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), p. 41. 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