Jane Tylus

Jane Tylus's picture
Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature
82-90 Wall Street, Room 425, New Haven, CT 06511-6605
(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, and currently sits on the advisory committee for PMLA.

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 346a, Gender and Performance in Renaissance Italy

Italian theater in the 15th and 16th centuries was one of the most vital cultural forms of the Renaissance. This course seeks to understand its specific historical role through the lens of gender, focusing on issues that transformed the stage over two centuries.  In reading the classics of Italian Renaissance theater, we seek to understand how gender dynamics were staged, performed, interpreted, and questioned in a space that was demarcated as separate from ‘real’ life, even as its boundaries constantly intersected with the very realities that theater theoretically excluded. Reading knowledge of Italian strongly encouraged.

Term: Fall 2018
Day/Time: Monday and Wednesday, 9:00a.m.-11a.m.

ITAL 720a, Renaissance Epic

This course looks at Renaissance epic poetry in relationship to classical models and as a continuing generic tradition. It examines epic type scenes, formal strategies, and poetic architecture. It looks at themes of exile and imperial foundations, aristocratic ideology, and the role of gender. The main readings are drawn from Vergil’s Aeneid, Lucan’s De bello civili, Dante’s Purgatorio, Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, Camões’s Os Lusíadas, and Spenser’s Faerie Queene

Term: Fall 2018
Day/Time: M 1:30-3:20

ITAL 940b, Before & After

Not simply the date of Columbus’s landing, 1492 also marks Lorenzo de’ Medici’s death, the banishment of Jews from Spain and Sicily, the election of a Borgia pope—Alexander VI, celebrated by Machiavelli—and the birth of Pietro Aretino. We briefly consider the shared cultural and religious history of Italy and Spain, even as most of our attention will be focused on Italy’s role as precursor: the Florentine Vespucci was the first to use the phrase “nuovo mondo,” and Columbus was inspired by the stories of Marco Polo and travels of Italian pilgrims to the Holy Land. We start with Columbus and his contemporary Savonarola and move into the “new worlds” of the early sixteenth century as represented by four topics: the rise of print; the burgeoning pastoral genre; the (brief) reaffirmation of the Florentine republic with cameo appearances by Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Machiavelli; and the otherworldly (but also very much of this world) romance of Ariosto. We spend time in the Beinecke Library with maps, Savonarola’s sermons, and early sixteenth-century Sienese pastoral plays, and also spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Renaissance paintings. In English.

Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Thursday, 3.30p.m. - 5.20p.m.