Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Alani Hicks-Bartlett

Dr Alani Hicks-Bartlett was a Visiting Research Fellow in 2023-24.

Alani Hicks-Bartlett is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, French and Francophone Studies, and Hispanic Studies at Brown University; she is affiliated with the Department of Italian Studies, the Program in Early Cultures, the Program in Medieval Studies, and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. She earned a Joint PhD in Medieval Studies and Romance Languages (Spanish and Portuguese) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Doctorate from Middlebury College in Modern Languages (Italian).

Her primary research and teaching interests include gender, race, disability, critical theory, and representations of artistic failure in Medieval and Early Modern English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and (Medieval) Latin literature. She has given special attention to: Arthurian Romance and questions of authorship in Medieval French authors like Chrétien, Marie de France, Froissart, and Alain Chartier; the development of lyric poetry, Petrarch, and early modern Petrarchan intertexts; epic poetry (the Cid and the Chanson de Roland as well as Virgil, Dante, Boiardo, Camões, Ariosto, and Tasso, in particular); selfhood and health in Petrarch, Montaigne, Cervantes, and Camões; and early modern tragedy (especially Calderón, Vélez de Guevara, Racine, Trissino, and Shakespeare). Her recent work has been published in journals such as Comparative Literature, Hispanic Review, I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, L’Esprit Créateur, MLN, Rivista di studi italiani, and Romance Notes

Project Description

As a Visiting Research Fellow at IAS UCL, Alani worked on completing articles on marriage and political failure in Portuguese crónicas and Camões’s Os Lusíadas, and race and gender in a play by Vélez de Guevara, while furthering research on her book, Writing the Disabled Self in Early Modern Literature: Petrarch, Montaigne, Cervantes. Writing the Disabled Self offers a new perspective on these humanist and early modern authors by insisting upon the link between disability, illness, and personal and political health at the core of their self-representational techniques. Indeed, Petrarch, Montaigne, and Cervantes all describe their bodies in ways that we would presently align with disability, and they each center discussions of illness, health, carework, medicine, “remedies,” and bodily diversity in their respective oeuvres. And yet, their works are not commonly viewed as fitting within a premodern disability ‘canon,’ and they are not often regarded as disabled writers—the rectification of which is one of the book’s primary methodological concerns.