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Lucia Aiello

Senior Lecturer in Italian



Lucia Aiello is a Senior Lecturer in Italian language and culture. She joined the department in December 2011 as Deputy Director of Languages for All.

After graduating in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, she completed her PhD in Literary Theory at the Humanities Research Institute (Bakhtin Centre), University of Sheffield, in 2001. She has taught Italian language and culture and comparative literature since 2000, both in British universities (University of Strathclyde, Institute for Applied Language Studies, University of Edinburgh) and in American universities based in Italy (John Cabot University, Rome).

In March 2019, Lucia became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Currently Teaching

Italian Degree Programme:

Departmental roles:



My research and publishing strengths are on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian literature and culture, Anglophone women's writing and literary and cultural theory.

My research work, publications, and conference contributions pivot around two aspects:

a) Feminist critique of women’s writings with particular emphasis on narratives of rupture and reaffirmation and the relationship between language, gender and trauma. I have produced a number of articles and international conference papers examining the works of Grazia Deledda, Anna Banti, Emily Dickinson, Fernanda Romagnoli, and Amelia Rosselli.

a) Close investigation of mediatory factors in the reception process (such as significant shifts in notions of the aesthetic, reader-response theories, and Rezeptionästhetik). This area of work has culminated in the publication of a book-length study, After Reception Theory: Dostoevskii in Britain 1875-1935.‌

Current projects

I am interested in the works of women writers who have moved from one culture to another and have as a result adopted for their creative work a language other than their ‘mother tongue’. In particular, I am examining how women have transposed their experience of multilingualism onto their works, be these works of fiction, poetry, diaries and memoirs, pamphlets, and so on and so forth. This ‘condition’ of multilingualism carries with it implications that are worth exploring. First, it compels us to rethink the notions of ‘mother tongue’ and ‘native speaker’ and raises philosophical questions about linguistic ownership (in other words, whether a language is owned, appropriated, imposed, rejected, etc.) and the possibility of ‘translating’ multiple identities. This project includes a study of the multilingual works of the Italian poet Amelia Rosselli in the original and in translation, and, more broadly, of concepts of linguistic displacement.

The book of refugees: a multilingual record of memories, dreams and aspirations of refugees in the UK

This project aims at creating a window through which we are given access to these memories and stories summed up in a few words. These can be words of wisdom, which refugees take as a way of life, poems they wrote, brief reflections on their experiences, as well as works of art like calligraphy and drawings. The main objective of this project is to create a bridge between refugees and the community in which they live and to fight racism and hate with knowledge, dialogue and understanding.



  • «’Canta la donna sola!’: La conquista della solitudine (o la solitudine come sfida) nell’opera di Fernanda Romagnoli ed Emily Dickinson», Nuova corrente 45, 161 (2018): 161-75.
  • “Postscript.” In “Narrating Gender and Trauma,” Special issue, Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies 5, 2 (2016): 127-34.
  • Review of Intervalla: Special Issue, Vol. 1 (2016), "To Be or Not to Be a Mother: Choice, Refusal, Reluctance and Conflict. Motherhood and Female Identity in Italian Literature and Culture,"Italian Culture 35,1 (2017): 60-62.
  • Book Review, '"La promessa di un semplice linguaggio": Lingua e stile nella poesia di Amelia Rosselli'. By Daniela La Penna, Italian Studies 70, 1 (2015), 160-62.
  • With Joy Charnley and Mariangela Palladino (eds), Displaced Women: Multilingual Narratives of Migration in Europe (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014).
  • After Reception Theory: Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain, 1869-1935 (London: Legenda, 2013).
  • ‘Looking at the “Crack’d Mirror”: Narratives of Restoration and Anticipation in Grazia Deledda’s La madre and Anna Banti’s Artemisia”, Journal of Narrative Theory 42, 1 (2012), 21-45.
  • 'Mimesis and Poiesis: Reflections on Gilbert and Gubar's Reading of Emily Dickinson', in The Madwoman in the Attic after Thirty Years, ed. by Annette Federico, foreword by Sandra Gilbert (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2009), 237-55.
  • 'The Quest for Meaning: Necessity and Plurality in Emily Dickinson', L’interprétation au pluriel / The Plurality of Interpretation, Imaginaires 13 (2009) (EPURE Edition et Presses Universitaires de Reims), 145-54.
  • "Of Death I try to think like this": Emily Dickinson’s Play with Death', in Layers of Dying and Death, Vol. 40, "Probing the Boundaries" Series, edited by Kate Woodthorpe (Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2006), 139-48.
  • With David Miller (eds), Philosophy, Nationalism and Identity (Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2004).
  • 'Types and Prototypes of National Mythology: Löwenthal's Dostoevsky and Dostoevsky's Pushkin', in L. Aiello and D. Miller (eds.), Philosophy, Nationalism and Identity (Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2004), 103-14.
  • 'Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain: The Tale of an Untalented Genius', Modern Language Review 98, 3 (2003), 659-77.

Translation Projects

For the Edinburgh International Festival, translation into English of:

  • With D. Miller, Italian libretto Montezuma, opera by Carl Heinrich Graun (2010)
  • With D. Miller, Italian libretto Admeto, opera by Georg Friedrich Händel (2009)

External activity

Co-founder (with David Miller) and co-editor of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies (

Conference organization and contributions:

  • 'Sanctioned by Law: Post-patriarchal Narratives of Gender-based Violence', Real Women and Imagined Femininity: Images of Womanhood in Italy from the Middle Ages to the Present Conference, 4th May 2022
  • 'Women's bodies and voices in the age of Berlusconismo', Strathclyde Italian Club, 14th January 2022
  • 'Come nascono i bambini?' - Pasolini's Italy in Comizi d'Amore, Società Dante Alighieri, Hull, 3 October 2019 (Invited speaker)
  • “Reflecting on learning objectives in LSAP: the case of Italian for Musicians,” Languages for Specific Purposes in Higher Education 2018 Conference, University of Leeds, 14th September 2018.
  • «Canta la donna sola!»: La conquista della solitudine (o la solitudine come sfida) nell’opera di Fernanda Romagnoli ed Emily Dickinson, « ‘Come scalci ancora forte mia vita’ : la poesia di Fernanda Romagnoli (1916-1986) » Maison de l’Italie, Paris - le vendredi 2 décembre, 2016; Hommage à la poétesse à l’occasion du centenaire de sa naissance (invited speaker).
  • Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar: The future of Modern Foreign Languages in Higher Education, 4th April 2017. Panel: Rethinking language departments in a time of financial pressure - short courses, joint honours provision and responding to Brexit. Transcript of presentation published by Westminster Higher Education Forum.
  • 'Il tema dell'(im)migrazione nel cinema italiano' - Serate italiane, University of York, 26 October 2016.
  • 'Incredible Witness: Gender and Lyric in the Age of Trauma', Trauma and Gender in 20th Century European Literature Conference, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow 11-12 March 2016 (keynote speaker).
  • 'Figures of Displacement: Language and Memory in Amelia Rosselli's Multilingual Poetry', Cultural Literacy Conference, Birckbeck Institute for the Humanities, London, 16-18 April 2015.
  • 'After Reception Theory: Fedor Dostoevskii in Britain', Reading and Reception Seminar Group, Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry, UCL, March 2015 (invited speaker).
  • 'Che cos'è la Sicilianità?', Harrogate Italian Circle, 21 March 2015 (invited speaker).
  • Displaced Women: Multilingual Narratives of Migration in Europe, 28-30 March 2012, Glasgow Women’s Library, Glasgow (Conference co-organizer, with Joy Charnley and Mariangela Palladino).
  • ‘Tracing the Chasm: The Question of Language in Amelia Rosselli’, Poetry in Conflict Conference, University of St Andrews, 2010.
  • ‘Euthanasia’s Narrative: The Battle for Florence as the Struggle for History in Mary Shelley’s Valperga’, Ruskin, Venice, and 19th Century Cultural Travel Conference, The Ruskin Centre at Lancaster University and the University of Ca’ Foscari, Venice, 2008.
  • ‘Allegories of Praxis: Emily Dickinson and the Poetics of Possibility’, Beyond Reification: Critical Theory and the Challenge of Praxis, II International Critical Theory Conference, John Cabot University, Rome, 2008.
  • ‘A Wholesome Sickness: Competing Versions of the “Mad” and “Degenerate” Artist’, Folly Conference, British Comparative Literature Association, XI International Conference, Goldsmiths College, London, 2007.
  • ‘The Enigmatical in Art: Some Critical Perspectives on Adorno and Dickinson’, Nostalgia for a Redeemed Future, I International Critical Theory Conference, John Cabot University, Rome, 2007.
  • ‘ “Of Death I Try to Think like This”: Emily Dickinson’s Play with Death’, 4th Global Conference – Making Sense of Dying and Death, Mansfield College, Oxford, 2006.

Contact details

Dr Lucia Aiello
Lecturer in Italian
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Vanbrugh College C Block
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 322463