Ryan Pepin

Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian


Ph.D., Italian, University of Cambridge (2020)

MSt, Italian and French, University of Oxford (2015)

B.A., English, University of Cambridge (2013)

Research and Teaching Interests

20th Century Italian Literary Criticism, European Modernist Poetry and Prose, Romance Philology, Medieval Latin Philology, Dante Studies


Ryan Pepin was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, but has spent much of his adult life overseas: in France, in the UK for university, as well as in China, Austria, Italy, and now the US. Similarly itinerant in terms of his training, he began as a student of English, specialised in medieval Italian, and is currently both a translator of 20th Century ‘hermetic’ Italian critical prose and a metricologist with a focus on rhythm in Dante and Medieval Latin poetry.

Ryan is currently completing a book of translations of essays by Gianfranco Contini for Notre Dame University Press, with the support of the Archivio Gianfranco Contini in Florence. Contini was at once a medieval philologist and the foremost critic of contemporary Italian experimental writing in his day. This double role—that of a scholar and editor of historical texts and of a ‘militant critic’—continues to issue a challenge to the way we split off and periodise Humanities disciplines. In articles and talks, as well as through his volume of translations, a key aim of Ryan's work to bring the ferment of literary theory south of the Alps to bear on discussions of the future of the Humanities today.

Ryan wrote his PhD thesis on Dante’s style—specifically, on Dante's memorableness. Even ‘dyers, drapers, [and] shopkeepers’, Petrarch wrote, memorized and performed the Commedia. By examining how the poet himself remembered and re-used language within his oeuvre, Ryan's work brings to light aspects of the poet’s compositional practice. This project is currently being re-fashioned into a monograph for SISMEL-Edizioni del Galuzzo in Florence, and will form part of a series stemming from the Marco Praloran Fellowship at the Fondazione Ezio Franceschini (which Ryan held in 2020-22).

Ryan has been a postdoc at the Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein at the University of Vienna, and at the Fondazione Ezio Franceschini in Florence.

Representative Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

‘Contini’s Dante and Valéry’s Mallarmé: A Criticism in Double Portraiture’, Le tre corone (VI, 2019), pp. 141-53.

‘“ET VSQVE AD NVBES VERITAS TVA”: Grace and Voice in the Marriage Song’, Religion & Literature (49.2, Fall 2018), pp. 277-86.

with McCormick Kilbride, Laura (co-authored), ‘On Grace and Poetry’, Religion and Literature. Introduction to a co-edited special section in Religion & Literature (49.2, Fall 2018), pp. 224-8.

Book Chapters

‘Li occhi dolenti’, in Re-reading Dante’s Vita Nova, Webb, Bowe and Baranski eds (Notre Dame, IN; University of Notre Dame Press). Forthcoming.

Prize Essay

‘The volgarizzamento of the Imola Commentary to the Commedia: The Identification of a Hand in MS Oxford, Bodleian Canon. Ital. 107, present in MS Paris, BNF Italien 78, with Notes Towards a Venetian Milieu’. Winner of the 2017 Gordon Duff Award for science of books and manuscripts, Cambridge University Library.


Gianfranco Contini, Essays on Dante and Petrarch (Notre Dame, IN; University of Notre Dame Press). Under review with Notre Dame University Press.

Email: rpepin@nd.edu
Office: 375 Decio Faculty Hall
Office Hours: Wednesday 1-2 & 2-3; Thursday 10-11; Friday 10-11 & 12:30-1:30