Kristina Marie Olson

Kristina Marie Olson

Kristina Marie Olson

Italian Program Coordinator

Associate Professor

Italian: Medieval and Renaissance studies, Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, medieval chronicles, historiography, gender studies

My research explores the intersection of history and literature in the works of medieval and early modern Italian authors, paying particular attention to matters of language, gender and reception.
 
My current book project, Sartorial Poetics: Clothing and Identity in Late Medieval Italian Literature, investigates clothing, gender, and governance in Italy in the works of Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch, as well as the chronicles and early lyric production. My first monograph, Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio and the Literature of History (University of Toronto Press, 2014), reads Dante’s influence on Boccaccio in the contexts of social, political, and economic transformations in the fourteenth century.
 
Together with Christopher Kleinhenz (Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison), I prepared a new volume of Approaches to Teaching Dante's Divine Comedy, which is forthcoming with the Modern Language Association's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series.
 
I currently serve as Vice President of the American Boccaccio Association. I served as Vice President of the Dante Society of America from 2016-18. I am on the Editorial Boards of Dante Studies and Biblioteca Dantesca.

Selected Publications

(See attached CV for complete list.)

Monograph

Edited Volumes

  • Approaches to Teaching Dante’s Divine Comedy. Second Edition. Edited with Christopher Kleinhenz. Modern Language Association. Series: Approaches to Teaching World Literature. (forthcoming, 2020)
  • Boccaccio 1313-2013. Edited with Francesco Ciabattoni and Elsa Filosa. Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2015.
  • Open City: Seven Writers in Post-War Rome. Edited with William Weaver. South Royalton, VT: Steerforth Press, 1999.

Selected Articles

  • “The Ethical and Sartorial Geography of the Far East: Tartar Textiles in Boccaccio’s Decameron and Esposizioni,” Le Tre Corone. Rivista internazionale di studi su Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio VI (2019):125-139.
  • “Worse than Dante’s Hell: Parents, Children and Pain at the Border,” Dante Notes, September 28, 2018   (https://www.dantesociety.org/node/132).
  • "Shoes, Gowns, and Turncoats: Reconsidering Cacciaguida’s History of Florentine Fashion and Politics." Dante Studies: The Annual Publication of the Dante Society of America 134 (2016): 26-47.
  • "Uncovering the Historical Body of Florence: Dante, Forese Donati, and Sumptuary Legislation." Italian Culture 33:1 (March 2015): 1-15.
  • "Dante’s Urban American Vernacular: Sandow Birk’s Divine Comedy." Special Edition: "New Voices in Dante Criticism," of Dante Studies: The Annual Publication of the Dante Society of America 131 (2013): 143-169.
  • "The Language of Women as Written by Men: Dante, Boccaccio, and Gendered Histories of the Vernacular," Heliotropia 8-9 (2011-12). Reprinted in Heliotropia 700/10: A Boccaccio Anniversary Volume (LED, 2013), pp. 217-236.

 

Expanded Publication List

Articles and Book Chapters (peer-reviewed)

  1. “The Dante Code: Dante’s Inferno in Mass Market Literature,” In Dante Alive, eds. Francesco Ciabattoni and Simone Marchesi (in progress).
  2. “Family Separation in Hell: Paternal Grief in Dante.” For a special edition of Forum Italicum in honor of Dante in 2021, eds. Rachel Jacoff and Lino Pertile (in progress).
  3. “’Le triste che lasciaron l’ago, / la spuola e ’l fuso’: Diviners, Weavers, and the Transgender Women and Men of Inferno 20,” for a special edition, "Free Will and Subjective Agency of Women in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature," eds. Catherine Adoyo and Francesco Ciabattoni (in progress).
  4. “Dante's Migrant Purgatory: Exile, Refugees, and the Case of Ulysses.” In In Transit: Arts of Migration around Europe, ed. Helen Solterer (in progress).
  5. “’Maintaining Neutrality in a Period of Moral Crisis’: The Appropriation of Inferno 3 from JFK to Martha Nussbaum.” In Dante Beyond Borders, ed. Nick Havely (under review).
  6. “Dante in a Global World: Sandow Birk’s Divine Comedy.” In Uncharted Dante, ed. Lucia Wolf, Bucknell University Press (forthcoming, 2020).
  7. Lectura boccaccii, 4.5: Lisabetta da Messina.” In Decameron Day Four in Perspective, ed. Michael Sherberg, University of Toronto Press (forthcoming, 2020).
  8. “Conceptions of Women and Gender in the Comedy.” In Approaches to Teaching Dante’s Divine Comedy, second edition. Edited by Christopher Kleinhenz and Kristina Olson. Modern Language Association. Series: Approaches to Teaching World Literature (forthcoming, 2020).  
  9. “Legacies of Greed and Liberality: Angevin Rulers in Dante and Boccaccio,” Studi sul Boccaccio XLVII (2019): 181-201 (forthcoming).
  10. “The Ethical and Sartorial Geography of the Far East: Tartar Textiles in Boccaccio’s Decameron and Esposizioni,” Le Tre Corone. Rivista internazionale di studi su Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio VI (2019):125-139.
  11. “Shoes, Gowns, and Turncoats: Reconsidering Cacciaguida’s History of Florentine Fashion and Politics,” Dante Studies: The Annual Publication of the Dante Society of America 134 (2016): 26-47.
  12. “Uncovering the Historical Body of Florence: Dante, Boccaccio and Sumptuary Legislation,” Italian Culture 33:1 (March 2015): 1-15.
  13. “Dante’s Urban American Vernacular: Sandow Birk’s Divine Comedy.” Special Edition: “New Voices in Dante Criticism,” Dante Studies: The Annual Publication of the Dante Society of America 131 (2013): 143-169.
  14. “The Language of Women as Written by Men: Dante, Boccaccio, and Gendered Histories of the Vernacular,” Heliotropia 8-9 (2011-12, http://www.heliotropia.org/08-09/olson.pdf) Reprinted in Heliotropia 700/10: A Boccaccio Anniversary Volume (LED, 2013), pp. 217-236.
  15. “Resurrecting Dante’s Florence: Figural Realism in the Decameron and the Esposizioni,” Modern Language Notes 124:1 (January 2009): 45-65.
  16. “’Concivis meus’: Petrarch’s Rerum memorandarum libri 2.60, Boccaccio’s Decameron 6.9, and the Specter of Dino del Garbo,” Annali d’Italianistica 24 (2005): 375-80.

Short Essays and Translations

  1. “Worse than Dante’s Hell: Parents, Children and Pain at the Border,” Dante Notes, September 28, 2018   (https://www.dantesociety.org/node/132).
  2. “Selected Illustrations from Birk’s Comedy.” Birk Illustrations, Digital Dante. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2017. (https://digitaldante.columbia.edu/image/birk-illustrations/inferno/)
  3. Selected poetry from Amelia Rosselli’s Documento. Published in the Italian Poetry Review, volume 4 (Società editrice fiorentina, 2009).

Reviews and Review Articles

  1. Review of Sherry Roush, Speaking Spirits: Ventriloquizing the Dead in Renaissance Italy (University of Toronto Press, 2015). Speculum 92:2 (April 2017): 580-81.
  2. Review of Boccaccio: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works, edited by Victoria Kirkham, Michael Sherberg and Janet Levarie Smarr (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Modern Philology 113:4 (May 2016).
  3. Review of Juliann Vitullo and Diane Wolfthal, eds., Money, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2010), in Annali d’Italianista 30 (2012): 509-511.
  4. Review of Tobias Foster Gittes, Boccaccio’s Naked Muse: Eros, Culture, and the Mythopoeic Imagination (University of Toronto Press, 2007) in Heliotropia, 6:1-2 (2009).
  5. Review of Olivia Holmes, Dante’s Two Beloveds (Yale University Press, 2007) in The Medieval Review, July 1, 2009. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.baj9928.0907.001.
  6. Review article of Claire Honess, From Florence to the Heavenly City: The Poetry of Citizenship in Dante (Legenda, 2006) in Symposium 61:3 (Fall 2007): 211-216.

Courses Taught

At George Mason University:

  • ITAL 110: Elementary Italian
  • ITAL 210: Intermediate Italian
  • ITAL 202/250: Intermediate Italian II / Gateway to Advanced Italian
  • ITAL 320: Italian Cinema / Neorealism and Global Cinema
  • ITAL 325: Major Italian Writers ("Dante's Divine Comedy"; "Dante's Inferno"; "Literature and the Black Death: Boccaccio's Decameron")
  • ITAL 330/331: Advanced Italian: Language and Culture
  • ITAL 340: Italian through the Arts (Film / Opera)
  • ITAL 360: The Italian South
  • ITAL 420: Global and Local Italy
  • FRLN 330: Topics in World Literature
  • FRLN 550: Boccaccio's Decameron
  • HNRS 230: Cross-Cultural Perspectives ("The Language of Empire: Rome, Italy and Africa")

Thesis Advisor and Reader (at Mason)

  • URSP Mentor for Giovanna Uberti, August-December 2017. Project Title: “Urban Policing in Contemporary Italy.” George Mason University.
  • URSP Mentor and English Honors Thesis Advisor for Georgia Wood, June 2014-May 2015. Project Title: “The ‘Divine’ Revisited: Reflections of Dante’s Divine Comedy in Toni Morrison’s Trilogy.” George Mason University.

Extramural Teaching

  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Fairfax, Virginia. Course title: Dante’s Inferno. Spring 2017.
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Fairfax, Virginia. Course title: Dante’s Purgatorio. Spring 2018.
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Fairfax, Virginia. Course title: Dante’s Paradiso. Spring 2019.

Education

  • Ph.D., Department of Italian, Columbia University (2006)
  • M.A., Department of Italian, Columbia University (2001)
  • B.A., Division of Languages and Literatures, Bard College (1998)

Recent Presentations

  • Keynote Lecture: "Crowns, Coronals and Genealogies: Women and the Italian Canon." International Conference: "Cinque Corone? Rethinking the Early Italian Canon." UCC Ireland. June 18-21, 2020.

  • “'Come ‘l vecchio sartor fa ne la cruna': Brunetto Latini, Sodomy and Sumptuary Legislation in Dante’s Florence," Panel: “Perspectives on Gender in Dante's Works.” Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association, Seattle, WA. January 2020.

  • “Tartar Textiles and Ethical Geography in Dante and Boccaccio.” Panel: “Dante, Local and Global: Towards 2021.” Conference: Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America. University of Pennsylvania, PA. March 2019.

  • “Family Separation in Hell: Parents, Children and Pain in Dante.” Panel: “Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio and the Poetics of the Early Italian Renaissance I.” Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. Toronto, Ontario. March 2019.

 

In the Media

Professor Olson was featured as one of the "Faces of Mason" in GMU's Fourth Estate.

Interview with News at Mason for her Fenwick Fellowship project.