Dr Theodore Ell
BA (Languages)(Hons I), MPub, PhD
A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney
Theodore Ell earned a doctorate in Italian at the University of Sydney in 2010, with a thesis on the Second World War poetry of the Florentine Piero Bigongiari, a member of the terza generazione of ermetici. Theodore’s main interests are the philology and history of modern Italian poetry, with an emphasis on ermetismo as a voice for Italy’s emotional and existential conflicts, and with special attention to poets’ personal philosophies, aesthetic evolution and working processes. He has conducted primary research in archives in Florence, Pistoia, Pavia, Siena and Pienza, transcribing the unpublished manuscripts and correspondence of Piero Bigongiari and contemporaries Mario Luzi, Alessandro Parronchi and Alfonso Gatto, among others. His monograph A Voice in the Fire: Piero Bigongiari’s Poetry of War and Survival will be published in 2014 by Troubador.
Theodore also translates Italian literature and has produced English editions in the genres of Italian travel writing, philosophy, narrative prose and Enlightenment science. His own poetry has been published by The Sydney Morning Herald and Sydney University Press. At the end of 2012 he will complete a Masters degree in Publishing, accredited as a professional qualification by the Australian Publishers’ Association. Theodore is co-founder and Poetry Editor of the biannual magazine of international writing Contrappasso. He is a Socio accademico corrispondente (Academic associate member) of the Accademia Pistoiese del Ceppo.
- 19th, 20th and 21st Century Italian poetry and poetics, particularly the terza generazione (Piero Bigongiari, Mario Luzi, Alessandro Parronchi, Alfonso Gatto).
- 20th Century Italian narrative prose – Morante, Pasolini, the individual and history, travel essays
- “‘With a full but soft emotion’: Byron, Berlioz, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and the paradoxes of poetic music-making,” at the postgraduate symposium Romantic Conversations: The Human, The Inhuman and the Non-Human, University of Melbourne, 16-17 November 2012.
- “Giacomo Leopardi and the stagnation of Italian revolutionary feeling,” at the postgraduate symposium Reflections of Romanticism and Revolution, Romantic Studies Association of Australia, University of Sydney, 25-26 November 2011.
- “Alessandro Parronchi’s songs for an unfriendly century,” at the biennial conference of the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies, University of Melbourne, 13-16 July 2011.
- “Motifs of destruction and endurance in Piero Bigongiari’s Rogo (1944-1952),” at the Second Mosaici International Conference: Poetry in Conflict, a collaboration of the University of Glasgow, the University of Hull and the University of St Andrews, hosted by the University of St Andrews, Scotland, 15-17 March 2010.
- “Heartache, fear and resolution in Piero Bigongiari’s Rogo (1944-1952),” at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy, Centre for Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London, United Kingdom, 27-28 November 2009.
- “A Voice in the Fire: Piero Bigongiari’s Rogo (1944-1952) and the quest for survival,” at School of Languages and Cultures Research Day, University of Sydney, 24August 2009.
- “Inward-looking sovereignty: Piero Bigongiari’s hopes for European culture after the fall of the Axis,” at the biennial conference of the Australasian Association for European Historians, Flinders University, Adelaide, 6-9 July 2009.
- “Poetry, prophecy and testimony in Piero Bigongiari’s journey through Egypt,” at the conference Enlightening Encounters: Italian Literature and Photography Through Time, University of Warwick (Coventry), United Kingdom, 13-14 March 2009.
- “Quaderni ermetici: Piero Bigongiari, poetic motifs and black books,” at the biennial conference of the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 18-21 February 2009.
- “Una vita della poesia: Piero Bigongiari’s early understanding of Giacomo Leopardi,” at the joint biennial conference of the American Association for Italian Studies and the American Association of Teachers of Italian, Taormina – Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Italy, 22-24 May 2008.
- “Piero Bigongiari, intellectual partisan and idealistic European,” at the conference 18 April 1948: Italy Between Continuity and Rupture, University of Reading and the London Italian Institute of Culture, United Kingdom, 18-19 April 2008.
- “Haunting motifs in the poetry of Piero Bigongiari after the siege of Florence,” at Hauntings: Spectres, spectrality and spectatorship, postgraduate symposium in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales, 11-12 October 2007.
- “Lichens on broken stone: Piero Bigongiari’s Rogo (1944-1952) and the quest for survival,” at CONNECT 2007, interdisciplinary postgraduate conference, University of Sydney, 26-28 September 2007.
- “Ignorance is risk: Pasolini and the dark side of 1968 in Italy”at the biennial conference of the Australasian Association for European Historians, University of Sydney, 1-4 July 2007.
Other Professional Contributions
- Poetry Editor, Contrappasso Magazine, biannual magazine of international writing, published by Sydney Samizdat Press. www.contrappasso.com
- Socio accademico corrispondente, Accademia Pistoiese del Ceppo.
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