Jane Tylus

Jane Tylus's picture
Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Italian and Professor of Comparative Literature
320 York, Rm 520, New Haven, CT 06520-8311
(203) 432-1058

Jane Tylus specializes in late medieval and early modern European literature, religion, and culture, with secondary interests in 19th-20th century fiction.  Her work has focused on the recovery and interrogation of lost and marginalized voices –historical personages, dialects and “parole pellegrine”, minor genres such as pastoral, secondary characters in plays, poems, and epics.  She has also been active in the practice and theory of translation. Her current book project explores the ritual of departure in early modernity, especially how writers and artists sent their works into the world.

She previously taught at NYU in Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, where she was founding faculty director of the Humanities Initiative, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She has been General Editor for the journal I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance since 2013.

BA, William and Mary
PhD, Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins

Publication Highlights:

  • Writing and Vulnerability in the Late Renaissance (1993, Stanford)
  • “Women at the Windows: Commedia dell’arte and Theatrical Practice in Early Modern Italy.” Theatre Journal 49 (1997): 323-42
  • Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World, (1999, California), co-edited with Margaret Beissinger and Susanne L. Wofford
  • Sacred Narratives: The Poems of Lucrezia Tornabuoni de’ Medici (2001, Chicago), Translation Award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women
  • The Longman Anthology of World Literature: Early Modern Europe (2003, 2nd ed. 2007), with David Damrosch
  • Reclaiming Catherine of Siena: Literacy, Literature, and the Signs of Others (2009, Chicago), Howard Marraro Prize for Outstanding Work in Italian Studies, MLA
  • The Poetics of Masculinity in Early Modern Italy and Spain (2010, Toronto), co-edited with Gerry Milligan
  • Gaspara Stampa: The Complete Poems, co-edited with Troy Tower (2010, Chicago)
  • Siena, City of Secrets (2015, Chicago)
  • Early Modern Cultures of Translation (2015, Philadelphia), co-edited with Karen Newman


Ital 946 Early Modern Ecologies: Representing Peasants, Animals, Labor, Land

To what extent does writing about the land and depicting landscapes in early modern Europe reflect a new interest in engaging the boundaries between the human and nonhuman? What does it show about the commitment of artists and intellectuals to representing cultures and environments not necessarily their own? And how did writers and artists seek to legitimize their intellectual labors by invoking images of agricultural work? Since antiquity, artists have often chosen to make the countryside and its human and nonhuman denizens symbols of other things: leisure, song, exile, patriotism, erotic sensibilities, anti-urbanism. Early Christianity in turn embraced the desert—and the countryside—as a space for spirituality. We explore these origins and turn to the early modern period, when such interests exploded into poems, novels, plays, and paintings—a period that coincided with new world discoveries and new possibilities for “golden ages” abroad. We read works by Virgil, St. Jerome, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Tasso, Seamus Heaney, and others, and take at least one trip to a local gallery (in New Haven or New York). Finally, we explore recent work in ecocriticism and environmental studies in order to grapple with ancient and early modern understandings of the natural world.

1 credit for Yale College students
Term: Spring 2023
Day/Time: Tuesday 3.30-5.20

ITAL 999 Preparing for Doctoral Exams

The aim of this seminar is to give third-year students the opportunity to work together on the three projects that will occupy them throughout Year 3: the oral comprehensive exam (for early November), the written exam on the three topics lists (for March–April), and the writing of the prospectus, to be defended in September of Year 4. Weekly meetings are run and coordinated by a faculty member in Italian, generally the graduate adviser. Each week of the first nine weeks is devoted to a specific topic on the comprehensive lists requested by the students themselves. Students are in conversation with each other, with the presiding faculty member, and with an additional guest lecturer who is an expert in the areas under discussion. Following the ninth week, there is a dry run of the oral exam. The remaining four weeks are devoted to discussing the composition of the topics lists and to the writing of the prospectus. Informal meetings may continue through the spring to discuss these issues as well.

Prerequisite: completion of all other graduate course work (15 credits).

1 credit for Yale College students
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: 1 HTBA