Elizabeth Leake

Elizabeth Leake

Research Interests


Spring 2020

  • Writing the Self: the Tradition of Autobiography in Italy, 19th-20th Centuries (3 credits)
    ITAL GU4109

    Against the backdrop of the heated critical debate on the boundaries and limitations of the autobiographical genre, this course addresses the modern and contemporary tradition of autobiographical writings, focusing in particular (but not exclusively) on exploring and positing the potential difference between male and female autobiographers. More specifically, we will question the adequacy of the traditional model of autobiographical selfhood based on the assumption of unified, universal, exemplary and transcendent self to arrive at an understanding of women's autobiography. Topics to be addressed include: the crisis of the subject, "je est un autre", the "man" with a movie camera, strategies of concealment and disclosures. Authors to be studied include: D'Annunzio, Pirandello, Svevo, Fellini, Moretti, Ortese, Ginzburg, Manzini, Cialente, Ramondino. In Italian

  • Intro: History & Theory of Literary Interpretation (3 credits)
    ITAL GU4220


Elizabeth Leake is professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Italian Department at Columbia. Her research interests include Twentieth Century narrative and theatre, psychoanalytic, ideological, and disability studies in Italian literature, fascist Italy, Italian cinema, and early Danish cinema. She is a recipient of the Modern Language Association Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies for her book The Reinvention of Ignazio Silone (2003) and The National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for College Teachers and Independent Scholars 2001. Her latest book, After Words: Suicide and Authorship in Twentieth Century Italy, was published in February 2011. Her current research project is a comparative study of representations of cognitive disability among American, Danish, and Italian poets; she is also co-authoring a book on Italian confino.

Selected Publications


  • The Reinvention of Ignazio Silone (2003)
  • After Words: Suicide and Authorship in Twentieth Century Italy (2011)