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Marilyn Migiel

Professor of Romance Studies

Klarman Hall, Room K109



Marilyn Migiel '75 is professor of Romance Studies in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell. 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. Her book, The Ethical Dimension of the “Decameron,” was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2015 and received 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.


  • Jewish Studies Program
  • Medieval Studies Program
  • Romance Studies

Graduate Fields

  • Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Romance Studies


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




  • 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.