Clare College Cambridge

Professor Helena Sanson

Professor Helena Sanson

Professor of Italian, History of Linguistics, and Women's Studies

Director of Studies for Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, Year Abroad and Part II

University Gender Equality Champion with responsibility for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

: (01223) 333204

Departmental webpage

Professor Sanson’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the history of the Italian language, literature and culture in Italy, between the Renaissance and the post-Unification period. She is particularly interested in the relationship between the history of linguistic thought and the history of women, as representative of the less learned, as well as in the role of women writers and women readers, in the same period. Among Professor Sanson’s other strands of interest are conduct literature for and about women, the history of translation in Italy and the role of women translators in the circulation of new ideas, and the popularization and dissemination of knowledge in Italy.

 Main publications (books):

  • Donne, precettistica e lingua nell'Italia del Cinquecento: un contributo alla storia del pensiero linguistico. Florence: Accademia della Crusca, 2007, xviii+382 pp.
  • Women, Language and Grammar: Italy 1500-1900. Oxford and London: Oxford University Press for The British Academy, 2011, xiv+420 pp. (This book was one of the winners of the 2008 'British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs' competition)
  • Women and Gender in Post-Unification Italy: Between Private and Public Spheres. Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2013, x+275 pp. (co-edited with K. Mitchell)
  • Lodovico Dolce, Dialogo della institution delle donne, secondo li tre stati che cadono nella vita umana (1545), ed. by Helena Sanson. Cambridge: MHRA, Critical Texts Series, 2015, ix+203 pp.
  • Conduct Literature for and about Women in Italy, 1470-1900: Prescribing and Describing Life. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2016, 438 pp. (co-edited with F. Lucioli) 
  • 500 Years of Italian Grammar(s), Culture, and Society in Italy and Europe: From Fortunio’s Regole (1516) to the Present, special issue of The Italianist, 36 (3), 2016, 154 pp. (co-edited with F. Lucioli)
  • Isabella Sori, Ammaestramenti e ricordi, circa a’ buoni costumi che deve insegnare una ben create madre ad una figlia, da citella, d’accasata e da vedova, […] con una particolare aggionta di dodeci Difese […] e nel fine un Panegirico (1628),ed. by Helena Sanson. Cambridge: MHRA (‘Critical Texts Series’, vol. 48), 2018, xi+254 pp.
  • Orazio Fusco, La vedova (1570), ed. by Helena Sanson. Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthc.
  • Knowledge across Boundaries: Women, Language and Translation in Italy’s Long Eighteenth Century. Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthc.
  • Women in the History of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthc. (co-edited with W. Ayres-Bennett)

Professor Sanson is the General Editor of the book series Women and Gender in Italy (1500-1900)/Donne e gender in Italia (1500-1900), Paris, Classiques Garnier (for more information, click here) and of the interdisciplinary journal Women Language Literature in Italy/Donne lingua letteratura in Italia. See here and also here.

Professor Sanson is the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize (2009).