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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I have now completed my degree and was awarded my PhD in April 2019.

I completed my BA in Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Italian) at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge during which I spent a year at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa studying History of Art, before doing an MPhil in European Literature and Culture at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. At Fitzwilliam I was holder of the Fitzwilliam Studentship and the first recipient of the Robert Lethbridge Scholarship in Modern and Medieval Languages. During my Master’s year I developed my focus on early modern Italian women’s writing, with some comparison with other European countries especially France, looking in particular at how women reacted to a highly patriarchal social and literary climate.

My PhD will focus in particular on the poetry of the sixteenth-century Neapolitan poet Laura Terracina, and I hope study of her work will be fruitful not only in and of itself, but in understanding a city which was at the centre of a whirlpool of religious, social and cultural developments throughout the early modern period. An impoverished aristocrat, a supporter of the unpopular Spanish rulers, a woman writing: Terracina occupied a unique position even before she became a publishing phenomenon throughout Italy.

Other academic interests

I have a general academic interest in the history of gender relations and women’s writing throughout Europe, particularly in the medieval and early modern periods. I am also interested in manuscript culture and the subsequent transition into print culture, as well as early modern bibliography in general, and how this interacts with women’s attempts to enter the literary sphere.

Department: Italian
Supervisor: Dr Abigail Brundin
College: Fitzwilliam College
AHRC Subject Area: Languages and Literature
Title of Thesis: A Return to the Spotlight: Laura Terracina in Early Modern Naples
 Amelia  Papworth