Dr Lisa Sampson

Reader in Early Modern Italian Studies


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2016

Research summary

Dr Lisa Sampson works on early modern Italy, focusing on theatre and literary culture, women’s writing, academies and court culture. She is the author of Pastoral Drama in Early Modern Italy: The making of a new genre (2006). Her co-edited Italian Academies 1525-1700: Networks of Culture, Innovation and Dissent (2016) results from a major AHRC collaborative project on Italian Academies, 1525-1700: The first intellectual networks of Early Modern Europe, on which she was a Senior Investigator (CI), with partners from Royal Holloway, London, and the British Library. She is currently preparing a monograph on Theatre in the Academies of Early Modern Italy: Festivity, Learning and Cultural Transformations, for which she has benefitted from the recent award of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2016). She is also working on a co-edition of “Gentlewoman of Lucca” (Leonora Bernardi), A Pastoral Tragicomedy for ‘The Other voice in Early Modern Europe’ series. This presents a fascinating and barely known example of female-authored drama from the late sixteenth century. Lisa Sampson is the co-editor also of two more of the earliest known full-length secular plays by women writers for the same series: (with Virginia Cox) Maddalena Campiglia, Flori. A pastoral play (2004; Best Scholarly Edition award 2004, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women) and (with Barbara Burgess-Van Aken) Barbara Torelli Benedetti, Partenia. A pastoral play (2013; Best Scholarly Edition award 2013, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women). Dr Sampson is also Senior Co-Editor of The Italianist, and serves on the editorial board of the book series ‘Women and Gender in Italy (1500-1900)/Donne e gender in Italy (1500-1900)’ (Classiques Garnier) and ‘La Scena e l’Ombra’ (Vecchiarelli). 

Teaching summary

My specialist teaching is mainly focused on the literature and culture of Renaissance and Early Modern Italy. I am responsible for modules across the Italian programme in this area which cover topics in literature, theatre, women's writing, and aspects of visual culture.

I welcome applications for PhD supervision in areas of Early Modern Italian culture. I have previously supervised doctoral research in topics including Noble-intellectual culture in Naples; Sixteenth-Century translations of Ovid's Metamorphoses; Isabella Andreini's Rime.


I gained my PhD in 2000 from the University of Cambridge, where I also took my BA (Italian and French) and M.Phil. (European Literature). I have also studied at the Conservatorio "Cherubini", Florence (Diploma, violin).

I held a British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellowship (Cambridge) concurrently with a Junior Research Fellowship (Wolfson College, Cambridge) in 2000-2003. Recently, I have been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2016).

Prior to joining UCL in Autumn 2016 I taught for several years at the University of Reading, and also at the University of Bristol.