Nicoletta Pireddu




Department of Italian
General profile



+1 202-687-8943




307 H-1 ICC


Professor Pireddu is a specialist in Comparative Literature. She holds an Italian laurea, and doctoral degrees from both Italy and the United States. She is the Director of the 2016-17 "FLL Hager Scholars Program Colloquium", and a core member of the Comparative Literature Program, which she directed until 2010. From 2010 to 2013 Prof. Pireddu was the Director of Graduate Studies in Italian. She has also been selected to teach the Ignatius Seminar "Borders: Self, Nation, and Beyond" from 2016 to 2018, and the Liberal Arts Seminar "Mediterranean Crossings" from 2018 to 2021.

Her research revolves around European literary and cultural relations, with particular attention to the Italian, French and British domains from the nineteenth-century to the present; questions of national and European identity, in connection with issues of borders and migration; literary and critical theories; Mediterranean studies; interdisciplinary approaches to literature; relationships between anthropology and literature; history of ideas; early science-fiction; translation studies.

In the seminars she has created at Georgetown in Italian and Comparative Literature she explores with her students such topics as the making of an Italian and European consciousness in modern and contemporary literatures and cultures; the literary construction of an ethnographic imagination through cultural exchanges; the avant-garde and neo-avantgarde in literature and the arts; authorship, autobiography and the relationship between genre and gender; science as a motif and formal principle in literary works within the "two-cultures" debate; the challenge to realist aesthetics in decadence, modernism, and postmodernism; law, justice and truth in detective fiction; the representation of mafia in literature and film; theoretical and practical questions of literary writing and translation, also on the basis of her experience as a freelance translator. Read a story about "Mafia: Reality and Fiction," a course taught by Professor Pireddu

Active in many professional organizations in the U.S. and Europe, Professor Pireddu has published over sixty articles in major American and European volumes and journals such as "Comparative Literature", "Romanic Review", "Research in African Literatures", "The Comparatist", "Gothic Studies", "Engish Studies," "The Translator", "Comparatistica", "Quaderni d'italianistica", "Forum Italicum", and "Annali d'italianistica", dealing with questions of Europeanness and national identity, literary and cultural influences, interdisciplinarity, translation issues, relationships between aesthetics and ethics, and focusing on a variety of authors among which Claudio Magris, Milan Kundera, Malcolm Bradbury, Paolo Mantegazza, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Virginia Woolf, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Samuel Beckett, Primo Levi, Anna Banti, Diego Marani, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Angela Carter, Gianni Vattimo, Michel Foucault, Vernon Lee, Stéphane Mallarmé, Thomas De Quincey.

She is the recipient of the 2003 American Association for Italian Studies book award for her volume _Antropologi alla corte della bellezza. Decadenza ed economia simbolica nell'Europa fin de siècle_ (Fiorini, 2002), a study of the relationships between decadent aesthetics and the anthropological discourse on gift-economy in turn-of-the-century European culture.
Prof. Pireddu's book-length publications also include _The Works of Claudio Magris. Temporary Homes, Mobile Identities, European Borders (Palgrave, 2015)--the first English monographic study on the relationship between space and identity in Claudio Magris's writings--, the first English annotated edition of Paolo Mantegazza's _The Year 3000. A Dream (U of Nebraska P, 2010) and of other selected works by Mantegazza _The Physiology of Love and Other Writings_ (U of Toronto P, 2007), as well as an edition of Oscar Wilde's _The Importance of Being Earnest_ for the "Great Authors" series at Loffredo Editore.

Prof. Pireddu's research has been sponsored by fellowships and grants from numerous institutions among which the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Howard Foundation at Brown University, the Italian Foreign Ministry, the Borchard Foundation and the Paris Program in Critical Theory, and a Senior Faculty Research Fellowship from the Georgetown Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2015- 2016.

She received Georgetown University's FLL Distinguished Service Award (2017) and the Georgetown University Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005). In 2008 she won the first prize of the "Mario Soldati" international literary award for criticism, sponsored by the Italian research institute "Centro Pannunzio" under the high patronage of the President of the Italian Republic.

Before her appointment at Georgetown, Prof. Pireddu taught in the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University, in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of Houston, and in the Department of Comparative Literature at UCLA, offering courses in the humanities, comparative literature, and Italian and French language and literature.

See a profile of Professor Nicoletta Pireddu's interdisciplinary research on the Georgetown College Newsletter:


  • Dottorato di ricerca (1997) Università di Venezia "Ca' Foscari", English and American literatures
  • Ph.D. (1996) University of California, Los Angeles, Comparative Literature
  • Graduate research fellow (1993-94) Paris Program in Critical Theory, Paris, France, Critical theory; aesthetics; anthropology
  • M.A. (1991) University of California, Los Angeles, Comparative Literature
  • Laurea, summa cum laude (1989) Universita' degli Studi di Verona, Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Study abroad (1988) Oxford University, Literary theory
  • Study abroad (1988) University of Edinburgh, Translation
  • Study abroad (1987) Université de Grenoble, French literature and culture


  • French (speak, read, write)
  • German (speak, read)
  • Italian (speak, read, write)
  • Latin (speak, read, write)
  • Portuguese (speak, read)
  • Spanish (read)