Photo of Tristan J Kay

Dr Tristan J Kay

BA (Leeds), MA (Leeds), DPhil (Oxford)

  • BS8 1TE

20082020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research so far has focused predominantly on medieval Italian literary culture, especially Dante and early Italian lyric poetry. My first book, Dante’s Lyric Redemption: Eros, Salvation, Vernacular Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2016), re-evaluates Dante’s relationship to his vernacular lyric heritage and his commitment to eros as a redemptive force. I have also published a number of articles that examine from different perspectives Dante’s complex and evolving notion of desire, in relation to both medieval and classical literary cultures, and have co-edited the volumes Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages (2012) and Dante in Oxford: The Paget Toynbee Lectures (2011). 

I have a growing interest in Dante's modern reception. I have worked on the use of Dante in the writing of Primo Levi and Cesare Pavese, and am now working on a monograph project entitled 'The Poet and the Nation: Dante and the Idea of Italy'. As Italy today adopts a more nationalist brand of politics, this project explores the ways in which the figure of Dante has been used and exploited to construct and articulate different forms of Italian national identity since the process of unification in the nineteenth century. It examines how, through different phases of modern Italian history, cultural and political agents have appropriated and manipulated Dante's work to promote and legitimize their different visions of Italy. My monograph will explore the poet's place in the Risorgimento, under Fascism, in the modern Catholic Church, and in contemporary debates surrounding migration, Islam and Italian identity. I have recently been awarded a Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust to support my work on this project from the start of 2020. 

Monograph:

Dante’s Lyric Redemption: Eros, Salvation, Vernacular Tradition (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016)

Edited volumes:

Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages, ed. and with an introduction by M. Gragnolati, T. Kay, E. Lombardi and F. Southerden (Oxford: Legenda, 2012)

Dante in Oxford: The Paget Toynbee Lectures, ed. and with an introduction by T. Kay, M. McLaughlin and M. Zaccarello (Oxford: Legenda, 2011)

Essays: 

'Primo Levi, Dante, and the Language of Auschwitz', Modern Language Review (forthcoming)

‘Dante Studies and the Transnational Turn’, in Transnational Italian Studies, ed. by C. Burdett, L. Polezzi, and M. Santello (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming)

‘Politics’, in The Oxford Handbook to Dante, ed. by M. Gragnolati, E. Lombardi and F. Southerden (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

‘Dante’s Poetics of the Subhuman: A Reading of Inferno XXXII’, L’Alighieri, 54 (2019), 99-115

‘Vernacular Literature and Culture’, in The Cambridge Companion to Dante’s ‘Commedia’, ed. by Z. G. Baranski and S. Gilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 140-57

‘Dante’s Ambivalence towards the Lustful’, in Dante and the Seven Deadly Sins, ed. by J. C. Barnes and D. O’Connell (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2017), pp. 271-302

‘17. Seductive Lies, Unpalatable Truths, Alter Egos’, in Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s ‘Comedy’, ed. by G. Corbett and H. Webb, 3 vols (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2016), pp. 127-49 [open access]

‘Dante’s Cavalcantian Relapse: The “Pargoletta” Sequence and the Commedia’, in New Voices in Dante Criticism, ed. by J. Luzzi. Special issue of Dante Studies, 131 (2013 issue; published 2014), 73-97

‘Desire, Subjectivity, and Lyric Poetry in Dante’s Convivio and Commedia’, in Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages, ed. by Gragnolati et al (Oxford: Legenda, 2012), pp. 164-84

‘Transforming Desire’ (with M. Gragnolati, E. Lombardi and F. Southerden), in Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages, ed. by Gragnolati et al (Oxford: Legenda, 2012), pp. 1-11

‘Dido, Aeneas, and the Evolution of Dante’s Poetics’, Dante Studies, 129 (2011), 135-60

‘”Una modesta Divina Commedia”: Dante as anti-model in Cesare Pavese’s La luna e i falò’, in Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, edited by M. Gragnolati, F. Camilletti, and F. Lampart (Berlin and Vienna: Turia und Kant, 2011), pp. 101-22 [open access]

‘Redefining the “matera amorosa”: Dante’s Vita nova and Guittone’s (anti-)courtly “canzoniere”’, The Italianist, 29 (2009), 369-99 

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Research Output

17. Seductive Lies, Unpalatable Truths, Alter Egos

Kay, T., 15 Dec 2016, Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy. Corbett, G. & H. W. (eds.). Cambridge: Open Book Publishers , Vol. 2. p. 127-49

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Vernacular Literature and Culture

Kay, T., 1 Dec 2018, The Cambridge Companion to Dante's Divine Comedy. Gilson, S. & Baranski, Z. (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 140-57

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Dante's Lyric Redemption: Eros, Salvation, Vernacular Tradition

Kay, T., 1 Jan 2016, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 286 p. (Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs)

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book

  • Prizes

    BIRTHA conference grant

    Kay, Tristan J (Recipient), 16 Dec 2015

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants

  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

    Kay, Tristan J (Recipient), 15 Jun 2017

    Prize: Election to learned society

    Senior Paget Toynbee Prize

    Kay, Tristan J (Recipient), 1 Sep 2009

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants

  • Activities

    Treasurer and Executive Committee Member

    Tristan J Kay (Member)

    1 Apr 2019 → …

    Activity: Other activity typesOther

    Lyric and Liturgy in Dante's Commedia

    Tristan J Kay (Speaker)

    5 Jul 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Re-Reading Dante's Vita Nova

    Tristan J Kay (Speaker)

    27 Apr 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course