Arielle Saiber

Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures

On leave for 2018-19 academic year

Arielle Saiber is Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures at Bowdoin College (Ph.D., Italian Literature, Yale; B.A., Philosophy/Cognitive Science, Hampshire College; corsi singoli in Philosophy at the Università di Bologna).  Saiber's books include Images of Quattrocento Florence: Writings on Literature, History and Art co-edited with Stefano U. Baldassarri (Yale, 2000); Giordano Bruno and the Geometry of Language (Ashgate/Routledge, 2005); and Measured Words: Computation and Writing in Renaissance Italy (University of Toronto Press, 2017). Her current book project focuses on symmetry and transformation in Dante's Commedia.

Saiber has published articles on medieval and Renaissance literature and mathematics, topics in “literature & science,” Renaissance advice manuals, and early print history, as well as on Italian science fiction, genre theory, and experimental electronic music. 

She has co-edited a number of special issues of academic journals: for Configurations, “Mathematics and the Imagination” (2009) with Henry S. Turner; for Dante Studies, Longfellow and Dante” (2010) with Giuseppe Mazzotta; for California Italian Studies, Sound” (2014) with Deanna Shemek; and for Science Fiction Studies, “Italian Science Fiction” (2015) with Salvatore Proietti and Umberto Rossi.  She is currently co-editing with Giuseppe Lippi (editor at Mondadori) an anthology of Italian science fiction in English for Wesleyan University Press's Early Classics of Science Fiction series.

In 2006 she built the web-based archive, Dante Today: Sightings and Citings of Dante’s Work in Contemporary Culture, which she now co-edits with Elizabeth Coggeshall. In 2015 she built an extensive, on-going website for the World Science Fiction course she teaches at Bowdoin. 

Saiber has served on the executive council and as Vice President of the Dante Society of America; on the executive board of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts; and on the executive committee of the Division of Literature and Science of the Modern Language Association.  She co-organized the 21st annual conference of the SLSA (Nov. 4-7, 2007), the theme of which was “code.” 

Her doctoral dissertation on Giordano Bruno won Yale’s Field Prize for "a poetic, literary, or religious work" (2000), and in 2004 she received the Karofsky Prize for teaching at Bowdoin (given to one assistant professor a year).  She has been a fellow at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici (1998-1999), the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2003-2004), and Villa I Tatti - Harvard’s Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy (2008-2009).  She also received an NEH Fellowship (2008), the MLA's Scaglione Publication Award (2016), and the Newberry Library's Weiss-Brown Publication Award for Measured Words (2017).

Research Interests

• Dante
• Medieval and Renaissance literature and philosophy
• Intersections between mathematics and literature
• History of science and mathematics
• Science fiction
• Reception theory
• Visual culture
• Electronic music

Teaching Areas

• Dante
• Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature
• Literature & Science
• Science Fiction

Measured WordsGiordano Bruno and the Geometry of LanguageImages of Quattrocento Florence: Selected Writings in Literature, History, and ArtDantis Purgatorio

ConfigurationsScience Fiction StudiesDante Studies
Go to Insolito FantasticoGo to Insolito FantasticoGo to Insolito Fantastico


  • Ph.D., Italian Literature, Yale University
  • B.A., Philosophy/Cognitive Science, Hampshire College

PDF Curriculum Vitae



Books and Edited Volumes

Measured Words: Computation and Writing in Renaissance Italy. University of Toronto Press, 2017. 
(Winner of the MLA Scaglione Publication Award and the Newberry Library Weiss-Brown Publication Award)

Italian Science Fiction. Ed. with Umberto Rossi and Salvatore Proietti. Science Fiction Studies 126.42.2 (2015). 206pp.
(table of contents here; Jstor)

Italian Sound. Ed. with Deanna Shemek. California Italian Studies 4.1 (2014). 403pp.
(full issue here)

Open-Theme issue. Ed. with Deanna Shemek. California Italian Studies 4.2 (2014). 329pp.
(full issue here)

Longfellow and Dante. Ed. with Giuseppe Mazzotta. Dante Studies 128 (2010). 371pp.

Mathematics and the Imagination. Ed. with Henry S. Turner. Configurations 17 (2009). 195pp.
(Project Muse)

Giordano Bruno and the Geometry of LanguageLondon: Ashgate/Routledge, 2005.
(Introduction available here)

Images of Quattrocento Florence: Selected Writings in Literature, History, and Art. Ed. with Stefano Baldassarri. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.


“Quadrivial Comedy in Alberti’s Musca.” Proceedings of the International Conference, “Alberti Ludens,” Oxford University, 26-27, 2017 for a special issue of Albertiana. Forthcoming Spring 2018.

“Hell, yes! Dante in Contemporary American Satire.” Dante Satiro: The Concept of Satire in the Middle Ages and in Dante’s Works. Ed. Fabian Alfie and Nicolino Applauso. (volume under consideration)

“The Song of the Return: Paradiso XXXIII.” Lectura Dantis: Paradiso. Ed. Allen Mandelbaum, Anthony Oldcorn, and Charles Ross. Berkeley: University of California Press. Forthcoming.  (Pre-print here)

Laffoley and Dante's Other Worlds.” The Essential Paul Laffoley. Ed. Doug Walla. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016: 20-29, 295-296.

"Introduction" to Italian Science Fiction, with Umberto Rossi. Science Fiction Studies 126.42.2 (2015): 209-216.

"A Selection of Italian Science Fiction Novels and Short Stories Translated and Published in English," with Salvatore Proietti. Italian Science Fiction. Science Fiction Studies 126.42.2 (2015): 354-356.

“Niccolò Tartaglia’s Poetic Solution to the Cubic Equation.” Journal of Mathematics and the Arts 8 (2014): 68-77.

"(Coda) Sound Bytes: Experimental Electronic Music and Sound Art in Italy." Italian Sound. A special issue of California Italian Studies 4.1 (2014). (full article here)

 "Introduction" to Italian Sound, with Deanna Shemek. California Italian Studies 4.1 (2014). (full article here)

"The tre giri of Paradiso XXXIII," with Aba Mbirika. Dante Studies 131 (2013): 237-272. (full article here)
• See also, Columbia University's Digital Dante site.

“The Game of Love: Caccia di Diana.” Boccaccio: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works. Ed. Victoria Kirkham, Michael Sherberg, and Janet Smarr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013: 109-117.
(full article here)

Flying Saucers Would Never Land in Lucca: The Fiction of Italian Science Fiction.” California Italian Studies 2.1 (2011): 1-47. (full article here)

"The Middle Ages and Early Renaissance." Routledge Companion to Literature and Science. Ed. Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini. London: Routledge Press. 2010: 423-437. (full article here)

Introduction to “Mathematics and the Imagination,” with Henry S. Turner. Configurations 17.1-2 (2009): 1-18.
(full article here)

When in (Renaissance) Rome...Cabinet. A Quarterly Magazine of Art and Culture 35 (2009): 12-15. (full article here)

Virtual Reality: Purgatorio XV.Lectura Dantis: Purgatorio. Eds. Allen Mandelbaum, Anthony Oldcorn, and Charles Ross. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008: 151-166. (full article here)

The Polyvalent Discourse of Electronic Music.” PMLA 122.5 (2007): 1613-1625. (full article here)

Flexilinear Language in Giambattista Della Porta’s Elementorum curvilinearoum libri tres.” Annali d’Italianistica 23 (2005): 89-104. (full article here)

The Giordano Asteroid and Giordano Bruno Lunar Crater: A Tale of Two Namings.” Bruniana & Campanelliana 10.1 (2004): 183-191. (full article here)

 “Hyperdimensionality in Salvador Dalí’s Illustrations of Dante’s Paradiso,” with Elliott King. Illuminating Dante (an online database of articles supported by the Dante Society of America and a grant from the Mellon Foundation), April, 2003.

Ornamental Flourishes in Giordano Bruno’s Geometry.” Sixteenth Century Journal 34 (2003): 730-747. (full article here)

Un convegno su Bruno a Chicago.Bruniana & Campanelliana 5 (1999) 1: 213-15.

Works in Progress

Fantascienza: An Anthology of Italian Science Fiction from the 1860s-1960s, with Giuseppe Lippi, ed. Advance contract with Wesleyan University Press.

Symmetry as Transformation in Dante's Divine Comedy. (monograph)

Web Projects
Dante Today: Citings and Sightings of Dante’s Works in Contemporary Culture 
(online since September 2006)


World Science Fiction Course

(online since July 2014)

wsf course  

Book Reviews

Martin McLaughlin. Leon BattistAlbertila vita, l’umanesimole operletterarie (Florence: Olschki, 2018) for Modern Language Review 113.2 (2018): 414-416.

Paolo d’Alessandro and Pier Daniele Napolitani, ed. Archimede Latino. Iacopo da San Cassiano e il Corpus archimedeo alla metà del quattrocento, con edizione della Circuli Dimensio e della Quadratura Parabolae.  Tr. P. d’Alessandro and P. D. Napolitani (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2012) for Renaissance Quarterly 67.3 (2014). (full review here)

Simonetta Bassi, ed., Bruno nel XXI secolo. Interpretazioni e ricerche. Atti delle giornate di Studio (Pisa, 15-16 ottobre 2009), with a bibliography of Bruno studies from 2001-2010 by Maria Elena Severini (Florence: Olschki, 2012) for Medium Aevum 82.2 (2013): 376. (full review here)

Anna Laura Puliafito Bleuel, Comica pazzia: Vicissitudine e destini umani nel Candelaio di Giordano Bruno (Florence: Olschki, 2007) for Renaissance Quarterly 62 (Spring 2009): 207-209. (full review here)

Eugenio Canone and Ingrid Rowland, ed. The Alchemy of Extremes: The Laboratory of The Eroici Furori of Giordano Bruno (Pisa-Rome: Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 2007) for The Medieval Review. (2008)

Leo Catana, The Concept of Contraction in Giordano Bruno’s Philosophy (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing 2005) for Renaissance Quarterly 59.3 (2006): 833-834. (full review here)

Pierpaolo Antonello and Simon Gilson, ed., Science and Literature in Italian Culture: A Festschrift for Pat Boyde (Oxford: Legenda, 2005) for Italian Studies 60.2 (2005): 255-257.

Louis Van Delft, Frammento e anatomia: Rivoluzione scientifica e creazione letteraria (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2004) for Renaissance Quarterly 58.3 (2005): 990-992.

Simon Gilson, Medieval Optics and Theories of Light in the Works of Dante (NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2000) and Alison Cornish, Reading Dante’s Stars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000) for Italian Culture 20.1-2 (2002): 222-225.

Encyclopedia Entries

The Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies. Ed. Gaetana Marrone and Paolo Puppa. 2 vols. (London: Routledge Press, 2006).
• Folgore da San Gimignano
• Rustico di Filippo

The Encyclopedia of Literature and Science (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002).
• Literature and Science in Italy
• Dante
• Leonardo da Vinci
• Giambattista Vico


• De Matteo, Giovanni. The Connectivist Manifesto. Tr. Arielle Saiber and Salvatore Proietti, 2013.
Ordine, Nuccio. Giordano Bruno and the Philosophy of the Ass (1987). Tr. Henryk Baranski and Arielle Saiber (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996).
The diaries of architect Paolo Soleri, 1994 (not for publication).


Recorded Lectures

Interviews and Media

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

2017: The Newberry Library Weiss-Brown Publication Award (for Measured Words)

2016: Scaglione Manuscript Award (Modern Language Association, for Measured Words)

2014: Course Development Fund (Bowdoin, for the "World Science Fiction" course)

2013: Faculty Travel Award (Bowdoin)

2012: Faculty Research Grant (Bowdoin, for Fantascienza: An Anthology of Italian Science Fiction)

2012 – 2013: Faculty Sabbatical Supplement (Bowdoin)

2008 – 2009: Villa I Tatti Fellowship, The Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies

2008 – 2009: NEH Research Fellowship (declined)

2004: Sydney B. Karofsky Prize (Bowdoin, for teaching, given to one faculty member a year)

2003 – 2004: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship

2003 – 2004: Kenan Fellowship (Bowdoin, for sabbatical, given to one faculty member a year)

2000, 2007: Bowdoin Faculty Research Awards

2000:  Theron Rockwell Field Prize for my Ph.D. Thesis, "Giordano Bruno's Geometry of Langauge" (Yale, for the best "poetic, literary, or religious work of scholarship" in any department that year)

1998 – 1999: Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici Dissertation Award (Naples, Italy)

1998 (fall): Yale College Fellow to teach a College Seminar

1998 (summer): John Perry Miller Research Grant (Yale)

1998 (summer): Warburg Institute Seminar Fellowship (London, England)

1997 – 1998 Lionel Pincus Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities (Yale)

1997 (summer): John F. Enders Research Grant (Yale)

1995 – 1998 (summers): Centro Internazionale di Studi Bruniani research grants (Naples, Italy)

1994 (spring): Folger Institute Fellow

1993 – 1995: A. Bartlett Giamatti Fellowship for Italian Studies (Yale)

1993 – 1997: Yale University Fellowship

1993: The Pirandello Lyceum Award for Italian Studies

Professional Activities


World Science Fiction course site

Dante Today: Citings and Sightings of Dante's Works in Contemporary Culture

Bowdoin College about technology in teaching and research

Hampshire College about teaching in the Humanities

Interview by Massimo Mongai for Il Tredicesimo Cavaliere on Italian Science Fiction

Interview by Cristian Tamas for Europa SF (The European Science Fiction Portal)

Interview by Jon Gordon of Future Tense (now Marketplace Tech) on the Video Game "Dante's Inferno"

Academic Spotlight: Bowdoin's Longfellow-Dante Connection Lives on

Campus News: Dante's Inferno Video Game Ignites Media Interest in Arielle Saiber

Academic Spotlight: From Hot Sauce to Xbox, Dante Still Rocks

Academic Spotlight: Dante, Mathematics and Cognitive Theory Are la dolce vita for Italian Prof

Academic Spotlight: Arielle Saiber Receives 2004 Karofsky Award for Junior Faculty