Davide Messina

Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies


I graduated in Philosophy at the University of Bologna, Italy, with periods of undergraduate study in Paris, Berlin and Jerusalem. After a Master's degree in Cultural Sciences at the International School for Advanced Studies San Carlo, Italy, I gained a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Bologna. I pursued my post-doctoral research in Italian studies at Columbia University, New York, where I also became a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Comparative Literature and Society. I came to the University of Edinburgh as a Lecturer in Italian Studies, and served multiple times as Head of Italian and Director of the MSc in Comparative and General Literature. I am now Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies. For my work and my collaborations, the Italian institutions kindly awarded me the honorary title of Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia.


Undergraduate teaching

  • Italian by Heart: Love Songs from Dante to De André
  • Performing Europa in Modern and Contemporary Italy
  • Sicily from Sonnet to Cinema
  • The Italian Baroque: Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Hannibal Lectures: Pasolini and the Cannibal Writers
  • Lampedusa and Stendhal: Prose Fiction in Comparative Perspective
  • Machiavelli: Prince and Prejudice
  • The Firefly Effect: Sciascia, Majorana, and the Moro Affair
  • Metrics Revolutions: Poetry and Society in Italy 1963-1993
  • The Leopard: History, Novel, and Film
  • Italian Styles: Dal ‘500 alla 500

Postgraduate teaching

  • What is Comparative Literature?’ (MSc Comparative and General Literature)
  • Writing (and) History: Holocaust Literature (MSc Comparative and General Literature)
  • Comparative Semiotics: From Sign to Text (MSc Comparative and General Literature)
  • Visual Semiotics: Image, Meaning, Movement (MSc Intermediality)
  • European Intellectuals: Antonio Gramsci (MSc European Studies)
  • Portfolio of Literary Translation (MSc Literary Translation)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

  • Modern and Contemporary Italian Studies
  • Comparative Literature and Arts
  • Philosophy and Semiotics

Research summary

My research interests span a wide range of authors and topics from early-modern to contemporary Italian studies, engaging literary history and theory with cultural studies and the arts. Main research areas include modern and contemporary Italian studies, comparative literature and arts, cultural studies, philosophy and semiotics.

View all 40 publications on Research Explorer