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Deborah Parker / Profile

Professor of Italian | Faculty

I teach Italian literature and culture at the University of Virginia. My research focuses on literary and artistic inter-relationships in the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance. I’m also the general editor of The World of Dante (

Current Focus

I’m currently involved in three large scale projects—completing a monograph on Michelangelo and The Art of Letter Writing, revising a monograph on special edition DVDs, and Teaching the Divine Comedy with Digital Resources Across the Humanities Curriculum. The later project involves a number of teaching activities related to The World of Dante.

Future Goals

I plan to continue pursuing literary and artistic inter-relationships in the Italian Renaissance and to promote innovative forms of scholarship that employ new technologies.


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My works include traditional print publications in the form of articles and books on Bronzino, MIchelangelo, Dante, Umberto Eco, and Renaissance printing practices. I’m also the General Editor of The World of Dante.


Selected Publications:

Books: Michelangelo and Art of Letter Writing (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press)

Film in the Age of the Special Edition DVD (forthcoming with Duke University Press).

Bronzino: Renaissance Painter as Poet (Cambridge, 2000).

Visibile parlare: Dante and the Art of the Italian Renaissance. Lectura Dantis, 1998.

Commentary and Ideology: Dante in the Renaissance (Duke, 1993)


“The Role of Letters in Biographies of Michelangelo,” Renaissance Quarterly 58 (2005):91-126.

“Bronzino and the Diligence of Art,” Artibus et Historiae 49 (2004):1-14.

“New Perspectives on Japanese Prints: “The Moon Has No Home.” Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection of the University of Virginia Art Museum,” Virginia Quarterly Review 80 (2004):195-206.

“Directors and DVD Commentary: The Specifics of Intention,” co-authored with Mark Parker Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2004):13-22.

“Poetry of Patronage: Bronzino and the Medici,” Renaissance Studies 17 (2003):230-245.

“Italian Renaissance Art,” Review article of Grove Encyclopedia of Italian Renaissance & Mannerist Art in Virginia Quarterly Review 78 (2002):175-77.

“The World of Dante: A Hypermedia Archive for the Study of the Inferno,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 16 (2001):287-297.

Edizioni e interpretazioni della Commedia nel Rinascimento,” in Pour Dante. Dante et l’Apocalypse. Lectures Humanistes de Dante, ed. Bruno Pinchard (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2001), 295-303.

“A Visibile Literary History: Giorgio Vasari’s Portrait of Six Tuscan Poets,” in Visibile Parlare: Dante and the Art of the Italian Renaissance, Special Issue of Lectura Dantis 22-23 (1998):45-62

“Il libro come forma espressiva: La stampa della Commedia nel Rinascimento,” in Studies for Dante: Essays in Honor of Dante Della Terza (Rome: Cadmo, 1998):135-143.

“Toward a Reading of Bronzino’s Poetry,” Renaissance Quarterly 50 (1997):1011-1044.

“Interpreting the Commentary Tradition to Dante’s Comedy” in Dante, Ed. Amilcare Iannucci (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).

“Women in the Book Trade in Italy, 1475-1620,” Renaissance Quarterly 49 (1996):509-541.

“Dante’s Medieval and Renaissance Commentators: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Interpretations,” Dante and the Middle Ages, ed. John Barnes (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1995.)

“Le donne e la stampa nel Quattrocento toscano,” Ilaria del Caretto e il suo monumento: La donna nell’arte, la cultura e la società del ‘400, ed. Stéphane Toussaint (Lucca: Edizioni S. Marco Litotipo, 1995).

“Ideology and Cultural Practice: The Case of Dante’s Treatment of Beatrice d’Este,” Dante Studies 111 (1993):131-147.

“Commentary as Social Act: Trifone Gabriele’s Critique of Landino,” Renaissance Ouarterly 45 (1992):225-247.

“The Literature of Appropriation: Eco’s Use of Borges in Il nome della rosa,” Modern Language Review 85 (1990):842-849.

“Narration as Practice in Il nome della rosa,” Quaderni d’italianistica 11 (1990):215-24.

“Beyond Plagiarism: New Perspectives on Bernardino Daniello’s Debt to Trifone Gabriele,” Modern Language Notes 104 (1989):208-18.

“Bernardino Daniello and the Commentary Tradition,” Dante Studies 106 1988):111-121.

“Answering Idle Questions: Open and Closed Readers in The Name of the Rose,” Anatomy of a Bestseller: The Name of the Rose, ed. M. Thomas Inge (Oxford, MI: Univ. of Mississippi Press, 1988), 146-156.

“Lectura Dantis: Inferno X,” Lectura Dantis 1 (1987): 37-47.

“The Trecento Commentators’ Interpretation of Exile in the Commedia,” Carte italiane 6 (1984-85):19-34.

“Sundays in Siena, ” Boston Globe, March 31, 1985. Coauthored with Mark Parker.


The World of Dante ( is a multimedia research archive intended to enhance the study and teaching of the Divine Comedy.


My other scholarly disciplines are Italian Studies and Renaissance Studies.


  • BA, University of Toronto
  • MA, University of British Columbia


  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Dante Society of America
  • MLA


Fluent in Italian, reading and speaking knowledge of French. Experience in overseeing collaborative digital projects and workshops. I also have a good background in the history of DVD production.

Mailing Address

Dept. of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese

115 Wilson Hall






Direct Contact

Office Phone: 434-924-4654

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