Prof Stephen Milner

Serena Professor of Italian Studies

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I am currently Director of the British School at Rome, the UK's largest international research institute. I came to Manchester as Serena Professor of Italian in 2006 and was Head of Department until 2010 and again from 2012 during which time Italian at Manchester headed the NSS rankings for three consecutive years. I was Robert Lehman Visiting Professor at the Harvard Centre for Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence in 2012 and in 2011 proposed the re-launch of the John Rylands Research Institute at Manchester in a working paper 'Unlocking the Rylands: Stage 2', chairing the Working Party and authoring the JRRI Business Plan which eventually secured £1.2 million over 5 years to unlock the library's world leading special collections. 

Between 1992-2006 I was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Bristol and Lecturer in Italian at the University of Cambridge for the academic year 1991-92. As a graduate of History from Cambridge, I undertook my PhD. in Combined Historical Studies at the Warburg Institute, University of London under the mentorship of Michael Baxandall. As a postgraduate I held fellowships from the British Academy, the British School at Rome, and the Leverhulme Foundation and an Italian government award at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa.

I have held a number research fellowships. In 2015, I secured a Katharine F. Pantzer Jr. Fellowship in Descriptive Bibliography, Houghton Library, Harvard University and in 2011-12 an AHRC Research Fellowship. In 2010 I was an International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR) Research Fellow, and Research Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol in 2005-06. In 1999-2000 I  was a Hannah Kiel Fellow at the Harvard University Centre for Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence and in 1998-99 I secured and AHRB Research Leave Fellowship.

I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, on the Executive Committee of the Society for Italian Studies, and have served on the editorial boards of Italian StudiesRenaissance Studies, and Annali di storia di Firenze and on the Academic Advisory Boards of the Mellon-funded 'Medici Archive Project' and the ERC-funded 'Italian Voices' project. I was a member of the Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters of the British School at Rome between 2007-13 and am a member of the Society for Italian Studies, the Renaissance Society of America, the Medieval Academy of America, The International Society for the History of Rhetoric, the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature and The Society for Renaissance Studies which I served as Honorary Secretary between 1992 and 1998.

Further information

BA Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Lara Pucci (2007-10), now Lecturer in Art History, University of Nottingham

Current PhD students

Oscar Seip, ' Theatres of Knowledge in the Early Modern Intellectual Tradition' (main supervisor)
John Hodgson, 'Modern Medici: the 25th and 26th Earls of Crawford and their Manuscript Collections' (main supervisor)
Paul Clarke, 'From Manchester to Seville: a Postcolonial study of Boccaccio's locales' (co-supervisor)
Federica Coluzzi, 'Dante Alighieri's Divina commedia between the mid-Victorian Age and Early Modernism (1860-1935) (advisor)

Past PhD students

Anne-Marie Stead, 'Twentieth-century Italian Texts in Translation and Manchester's Carcanet Press' (main supervisor) 2016
Veronica Pizzerotti, 'Two-hundred years of English Translations of Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (co-supervisor) 2015
Di Xiao, 'Cultural Identity Reconstruction in the Translation of Modern Chinese Fiction (advisor) 2015
Francesco Casti, 'Aspectual and Modal Periphrases in Modern Sardinian' (advisor) 2012
Giulio Giusti, 'Modern and Contemporary Painting in Dario Argent's Films' (second supervisor) 2011
Laura Anne Parker, 'Public History and Collective Memory in Venice and Venetia, 1815-1915' (advisor/second supervisor) 2011
Amy Fuller, 'Using Men to Think with: the Reception of Augustine by Suo Juana Ines de la Cruz' (advisor) 2010
Dafni Papadoudi, 'The Culture of Technical Texts and its impact on Translation from English to Greek' (advisor) 2010
Francesco Maria Ciconte, 'Existential Constructions in Early Italian Vernaculars' (advisor) 2010

Recent keynote and invited lectures

Selected Lectures / Invited papers

'Book Cultures: Forensic Science and Textual Hermeneutics', Late Medieval Europe seminar, University of Oxford, 22 February 2017.

'The Function of Figures: Forensic Rhetoric and Poetic Forms', Dichtung und Recht in 13. und 14. Jahrhundert, Georg-August Universitat, Gottingen, Germany, 26-29 October 2016.

'Editori, poeti e politici: la storia della "Edizione monumentale" della Divina Commedia (1911)', Accademia Petrarca di lettere, arti, e scienze, Arezzo, 13 June 2016.

'Printing, Parchment, and Protein: the Bioarcheology of Harvard's Books on Skin', Philip and Frances Hofer Lecture, Houghton Library, Harvard University, 13 April 2016.

'Of Literal and Literary Corpora: the Anatomy of the Text', Institute of Fine Arts/Mellon Lecture, Morgan Library and Museum, New York, 5 April 2016.

'The Fortunes of Aldus Manutius: Merchant Collectors of the Victorian Age', Edward Worth Library, Dublin, 9 February 2016.

'Books and Beasts: the Anatomy of the Textual Corpus', Rome Lecture, British Academy, London, 22 June 2015.

'Manutius in Manchester: Merchant Collectors in the Nineteenth Century', at Aldo Manutius e la construzione del mito, University Ca' Foscari and Biblioteca Marciana, Venice, 26-28 February 2015.

'Manuscripts: The Archaeozoology of Animal Skin' and 'Venetian Vellum: Parchment Books in the Renaisssance', USA East Coast tour, 7-16 April 2014- Library of Congress and Folger Shakespear Library, Washington; the Winterthur Museum and Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania; the Morgan Library, New York; the Yale Centre for Conservation and Preservation and Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven; Weissman Centre for Preservation and Conservation, Harvard University and MIT Libraries, Boston, 7-16 April.

'Machiavelli's Adverse Fortune: New Light on the Composition of De principatibus', at '500 Years of the Prince' roundtable, Department of History, Harvard University, 3 Dec. 2013.

'The Politics of Advice: Addressing Princes', at 'Machiavelli and Modern Politics: Quincentenary celebration of the Prince', Shanghai Normal University and Tianjin Normal University, China, 25-29 May 2013.

'Quattro cavallari in cerca d'autore: Machiavelli per le strade di Firenze', Museo Bargello, Florence, 15 Feb. 2013.


'La storia della Edizione monumentale della "Divina Commedia" (1911)', La Nazione, 26 June 2016.

'Who's Afraid of Machiavelli', BBC1 TV 'Imagine' series presented by Alan Yentob, 26 Nov. 2013.

'Dan Brown's Inferno'. BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Scotland, 14 May 2013.

'Machiavelli bandit' feature. BBC Radio 4 'Today' with John Humphrys; BBC TV News; TG1 Rai Italy; WBUR Radio USA; La Repubblica; Der Spiegel, Voice of Russia and related news agencies, 18-19 Feb. 2013.

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