Marilyn Migiel

Marilyn Migiel

Professor of Romance Studies, Senior Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities

mm55@cornell.edumm55 Office: KLR K109

Marilyn Migiel received her A.B. in Medieval Studies (as an independent major) from Cornell University in 1975 and her Ph.D. in Italian Language and Literature from Yale University in 1981. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 1987, she taught Italian language and literature at Yale.

Having benefited immensely from her undergraduate study with Cornell faculty who were outstanding teachers and scholars, Migiel is deeply committed to undergraduate education.

While Migiel teaches and works on a wide array of texts and authors from the Italian Middle Ages to the present day, she is known primarily for her feminist readings of medieval and Renaissance Italian literature. Her best-known publication is A Rhetoric of the “Decameron,” which received the MLA’s 2004 Howard R. Marraro Prize for outstanding scholarship in Italian. Most recently, her book entitled The Ethical Dimension of the “Decameron,” published by the University of Toronto Press in 2015, was awarded the MLA’s 2016 Howard R. Marraro Prize. In her recent and ongoing research, Migiel is especially interested in how literary works engage us in reflection about our ethical choices.

In her capacity as the Senior Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities, Migiel oversees departments and programs in the arts and humanities, the J.S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, and the College Scholar Program.

Recent Courses

  • FWS: The Craft of Storytelling: The Decameron
  • Languages, Literatures, Identities
  • One Italian Masterpiece
  • Jewish Identity and Italian Culture
  • Modern Italian Novel
  • Save the Story! Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi
  • Literature and Moral Complexity
  • Dante’s Commedia
  • Decameron

Research Interests

  • Italian literature and culture (especially 1200-1600)
  • Feminist criticism

Selected Publications

  • The Ethical Dimension of the “Decameron”  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015), recipient of the MLA’s 2016 Howard R. Marraro Prize for outstanding scholarship in Italian.
  • A Rhetoric of the “Decameron” (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), recipient of the MLA’s 2004 Howard R. Marraro Prize for outstanding scholarship in Italian.
  • Gender and Genealogy in Tasso’s “Gerusalemme Liberata” (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1993).
Edited volume
  • Refiguring Woman: Perspectives on Gender and the Italian Renaissance, eds. Marilyn Migiel and Juliana Schiesari (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).
  • “Veronica Franco’s Gendered Strategies of Persuasion: Terze rime 1 and 2,” MLN 131 (2016): 58-73.
  • Boccaccio and Women,” in The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio, eds. Guyda Armstrong, Rhiannon Daniels, and Stephen J. Milner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 171-84.
  • “Some Restrictions Apply: Testing the Reader in Decameron III, 8,” in Boccaccio in America, eds. Elsa Filosa and Michael Papio (Ravenna: Longo, 2012), 191-207.
  • “New Lessons in Criticism and Blame from the Decameron.”  Heliotropia  7:1-2 (2010): 5-30.
  • “Wanted: Translators of the Decameron’s Moral and Ethical Complexities.” Heliotropia  6:1-2 (2009).  14 pages in pdf file.
  • “The Untidy Business of Gender Studies: Or, Why It’s Almost Useless to Ask if the Decameron is Feminist,” in Boccaccio and Feminist Criticism, eds. Thomas C. Stillinger and F. Regina Psaki (Chapel Hill: Annali d’Italianistica, 2006), 217-33.
  • “Figurative Language and Sex Wars in the Decameron,” Heliotropia  2: 2 (2004): 1-12.