Dr Marta Arnaldi

  • Medical Humanities
  • Medical History
  • Comparative Literature
  • Translation Studies
  • Transnational Modern Languages
  • Diaspora Studies

I am interested in matters of transnational resonance: diaspora and migration; multilingualism and creativity; and the interplay of medicine and culture. My forthcoming book, entitled The Diasporic Canon: American Anthologies of Contemporary Italian Poetry 1945-2015, is the first monograph to be dedicated to the history of a national literary canon in another language and country. My current book project brings together the seemingly unrelated worlds of medicine and translation through the lens of modern and contemporary poetry. I am the recipient of a double grant from Wellcome ISSF and John Fell Fund, Oxford, for an interdisciplinary research project called Translating Illness. The project consists in a seminar series, also available as podcast episodes, and in a programme of international collaborations (Columbia, Yale and Oslo). I am also the PI of Translating COVID-19, a public engagement with research project activated as an emergency response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Featured Publication
Arnaldi, Marta. The Diasporic Canon: American Anthologies of Contemporary Italian Poetry 1945-2015 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2021). Forthcoming.


The Diasporic Canon is the first monograph to be dedicated to the history of a national literary canon in another language and country. By exploring Italian poetry’s potential for mobility and transformation, it traces its reception in the U.S. and translation into English as an expression of the culture of Italian migration to North America. The result is the evolution, from the 1940s up to the present, of a radically different canon from the domestic one, i.e. a canon that has been built upon historical anticipations of later developments in Italy, transcontinental influences, but also inversions, distortions, and even errors. In a rigorous yet ground-breaking survey that analyses almost one-hundred anthologies, Marta Arnaldi argues that the theoretical concept of diaspora presents us with a new idea of canonicity, one that puts forward a renewed image of literature in translation and of its significance, whilst also problematising received ideas of nationality, ethnicity, gender, genre, and authorship.


Current Oxford University DPhil students:

  • Jeremy Leslie-Spinks, Faculty of Primary Care Health Sciences (co-supervision)

I teach all the modern and contemporary literature papers (18th to 21st centuries) to undergraduates from all years (Oxford Preliminary Examinations and FHS). I also teach all the Italian language papers and supervise comparative projects. I designed and deliver a creative writing course.

Courses I teach:

  • Paper I Essay in Italian
  • Paper II Translation and Prose
  • Paper III Translation from Pre-Modern Italian
  • Paper VIII Modern Italian Literature (1750-Present Day) and Cinema
  • Paper XI Modern Prescribed Authors
  • Paper XII Special Subjects, especially ‘Italian Women’s Writers 1945 to the Present’, ‘Italian Poetry from 1956 to the Present Day’ and Literary and Translation Theory
In the Media

My recent work includes a series of video conversations led by myself and disseminated through The Queen’s College YouTube channel and the University’s podcast website. The series features prominent scholars from around the world reflecting on the translational dimensions of the coronavirus crisis:



Social Media

Twitter: @tersi_core14