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Durham University

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Miss Emma Wall, BA Hons (Dunelm), PGCE (Cantab)

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Academic Biography

PhD candidate in Italian studies and AHRC Northern Bridge award holder. I completed my BA at Durham University, achieving first class honours. My research during this period focused largely on Classical Reception in Medieval Italy, with a thesis on Dante's employment of Aristotelian philosophy to structure the moral topography of the Inferno. Following the completion of my BA I was awarded a research grant to work on the exhibition 'Heaven, Hell and Hope: A Journey Through Life and the Afterlife with Dante' (Palace Green Library, 2 December 2017-18 March 2018), where I researched multiple strands relating to Dante's Divina Commedia, focusing in particular on women in the Commedia and the reception of the work up to the modern day. I then completed my PGCE at Cambridge, with a thesis on the efficacy of Latin etymologies as a vocabulary acquisition technique for learners of modern Italian. My PhD research at Durham focuses on Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta and the complex evolution of the collection in the context of classical and vernacular poetry.

Conference Papers

'Italian Poetry, Augustan Design: Classical Traces in the Conception and Architecture of Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta', at 'Becoming' and the Roman World, University of Durham, 11-12th September 2019.

'The Dream Vision in 15th and 16th Century Italian Poetry: Symbolism and Prophecy', at Durham Early Modern Conference, Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Durham, 22-24th July 2019.

'Voice and Textual Perspective: Lyric in Dante's Commedia', at 'Lyric and Liturgy in Dante's Commedia', University of Cambridge, 5th July 2019.

Current Research Interests

My PhD research considers the evolution of Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, focusing on the final stages of the collection's development. The (often disjointed) manuscript tradition of the text provides a wealth of evidence to testify to the evolution of the collection and its architecture, which I will use as a basis to identify the implications of the textual variants in key manuscripts as a reflection of Petrarch's changing philosophical values. Such a discussion about the architecture of the Rvf will take place in the context of Petrarch's response to classical poetry collections, in particular the Augustan poets, and consider how the Rvf sits in the tradition of vernacular poetry collections.


2019: AHRC Northern Bridge Research Training Support Grant

2018-2021: AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Partnership Scholarship

2017: Collingwood College Undergraduate Research Internship

Research Interests

  • Petrarch
  • Dante
  • Classical Reception in Medieval Italy
  • Italian Renaissance Literature
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Early Italian Poetry


Journal Article

Is supervised by

Selected Grants

  • 2018: AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership