Kristina Marie Olson
Italian Program Coordinator
Italian: Medieval and Renaissance studies, Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, gender studies, reception studies
I research the works of medieval Italian authors, namely the "tre corone" (the "three crowns") of Italian literature: Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. I read their works through the lens of history, politics and gender. Several of my articles explore the reception of Dante in 20th and 21st century art and literature.
My current book project is titled Dressing Babylon and Florence: Sartorial Poetics in Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. Clothing and textiles -- from belts and undergarments to gowns and mantles -- function as symbols of ethics, ethnicity, and gender in the works of the tre corone. Examining dress both as literal and material objects and as allegorical signs with scriptural and literary antecedents, this project illustrates the construction of identity in Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch that takes place through the language of clothing.
Together with Christopher Kleinhenz (Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison), I edited a new edited volume, Approaches to Teaching Dante's Divine Comedy
, with the Modern Language Association's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series (2020).
I created an Italian language course with The Teaching Company (Great Courses), titled "Learning Italian: Step by Step and Region by Region
," which was released in December 2020. This course includes 24 video lectures and an accompanying workbook, which I co-authored with Alyssa Falcone.