Dr. Shachar Livne
Areas of specialization: Medieval Literature, Poetic Reception, Vernacular and Latin Literary Histories
Areas of competence: Middle English, Italian Trecento, medieval and early modern European literature, Comparative Literature
After earning my PhD in Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2021, I went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship as a Lady Davis Fellow while also teaching medieval and early modern English literature at HUJI. By training, I am a literary scholar, and my work focuses on Italian and English literatures of the Middle Ages and their intercultural exchange. More specifically, I have specialized in the poetry of the Italian Trecento (i.e., Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio) and its reception, translation, and interpretation, across the Channel in England.
My doctoral dissertation, Deauthorizing Dante, unpacks the shaping force that the Italian literary tradition exerted on succeeding generations of poets by examining how Dante’s quest for authority in the Divine Comedy influenced the authoritative methods of his poetic heirs. This monograph interrogates how the distinguished fourteenth-century poets, Chaucer, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, undertook to establish their own poetic authority by reworking, either openly or obliquely, two central scenes from Dante’s Commedia. I show that all three use different strategies to present themselves as authoritative poets, often using Dante’s own techniques to challenge his supremacy.
My second book project, Petrarch’s Vernacular and the Formation of an English Poetic Canon in the Late Middle Ages,
shifts the focus to the reception of Petrarch’s vernacular works in late medieval England (1380–1450). Petrarch’s compelling figure—a poet, a literary visionary, and a classicist—drew many of his English near-contemporaries (Chaucer, Lydgate, and Gower, among them) who sought to emulate Petrarch’s poetic achievement in their nascent language and culture.