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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Dr Pierpaolo Antonello

Pierpaolo Antonello
Head of Italian
Reader in Italian Literature and Culture
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335046 (Faculty)
+44 (0)1223 337711 (College)

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Dr Antonello specialises in twentieth century Italian literature, culture and intellectual history. He wrote extensively on the relationship between literature and science, Futurism and the Avant-Garde, Italo Calvino, Italian cinema, and Postmodern Italian culture. He also published on French philosophy and epistemology, with particular reference to René Girard and Michel Serres. He is the co-editor of the series ‘Italian Modernities’ for Peter Lang and he is member of the advisory board of ‘Imitatio: Integrating the Human Sciences’.

Teaching interests: 

Literature and science

Ethics and political commitment in contemporary Italian culture Representation of violence in literature and cinema

Art and industry

Italo Svevo

Bruno Munari

Paolo Sorrentino

Research interests: 

Ethics and political commitment in contemporary Italian culture

Technology and the Arts

Bruno Munari

René Girard’s mimetic theory.  

Published works: 


Dimenticare Pasolini. Intellettuali e impegno nell’Italia contemporanea (Milan: Mimesis, 2012).

Contro il materialismo. Le ‘due culture’ in Italia:  bilancio di un secolo (Turin: Aragno, 2012); 2013 AAIS Book Prize; Viareggio-Répaci Jury Prize 2013.

Il ménage a quattro. Scienza, filosofia, tecnica nelle letteratura italiana del Novecento (Florence: Le Monnier, 2005).


Co-authored books

René Girard with Pierpaolo Antonello and João Cezar de Castro Rocha, Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture (London: Continuum, 2007). Translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Czech, Polish.


Edited volumes

Mimesis, Desire, and the Novel: René Girard and Literary Criticism, co-edited with Heather Webb (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2015).

How We Became Human: Mimetic Theory and the Science of Evolutionary Origins. Co-edited with Paul Gifford. (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2015)

Can we Survive our Origins? Readings in Rene Girard’s Theory of Violence and the Sacred. Co-edited with Paul Gifford (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2014).

Gianni Vattimo and René Girard, Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith: A Dialogue. Ed. with introduction by P. Antonello (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010). Translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Romanian, German, Dutch.

Postmodern Impegno: Ethics and Commitment in Contemporary Italian Culture. Co-edited with F. Mussgnug (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009).

Imagining Terrorism: The Rhetoric and Representation of Political Violence in Italy 1969-2009. Co-edited with A. O’Leary (Oxford: Legenda, 2009).

La violenza allo specchio. Passione e sacrificio nel cinema contemporaneo. Co-edited with E. Bujatti (Massa:  Transeuropa, 2009)

Identità e desiderio. La teoria mimetica e la letteratura italiana. Co-edited with G. Fornari (Massa:  Transeuropa, 2009)

Future Imperfect: Italian Futurism between Tradition and Modernity. Special Issue of The European Legacy. Journal of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, 14.7 (2009). Routledge. Co-edited with Marja Härmänmaa.

Science and Literature in Italian Culture: from Dante to Calvino. A Festschrift in honor of Patrick Boyde. Co-edited with Simon Gilson (Oxford: Legenda, 2004)

Michel Serres. Festschrift in honor of Michel Serres. A special issue of Configurations 8.2 (2000). Johns Hopkins University Press. Co-edited with Robert P. Harrison.

Guy Debord. A special issue of SubStance, 90 (2000). University of Wisconsin Press. Co-edited with Olga Vasile.


Further publications

For a list of further publications, please click here.