Dennis Looney, Ph. D.
PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Associate professor (and
currently chair) in the
French and Italian
at the University of Pittsburgh, with
a secondary appointment in the
Department of Classics.
In my research and teaching, I am dedicated to understanding as
completely as possible the phenomenon cultural historians call Renaissance
Humanism. This has led me to study the way Italian poets renovated popular
literary traditions through their imitation of the classical literature of
Greece and Rome. I have written on how Dante and Petrarch used
idiosyncratic interpretations of antiquity to shape their various literary
works. My current research is focused on a group of poets associated with
the Estense court in Renaissance Ferrara: Boiardo, Ariosto, and Torquato Tasso.
In particular, I am interested in how they altered the genre of chivalric
romance through their reception of classical epic. I examine this process in
detail in my book, Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the
Italian Renaissance (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1996).