Martin Eisner

Martin Eisner

Professor of Romance Studies

External address: 05 Language Center, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708
Internal address: Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708-0257
Phone: (919) 660-3129
Office Hours: To make an appointment, please contact the Assistant to the Chair, Hannah Blake-Harris at

Martin Eisner is Chair of Romance Studies and Professor of Italian at Duke University. He specializes in medieval Italian literature, particularly the works of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, as well as the history of the book and media.

He is the author of Boccaccio and the Invention of Italian Literature (Cambridge UP, 2013) and Dante's New Life of the Book (Oxford UP, forthcoming). He is currently working on a biography of Boccaccio for Reaktion Books's Renaissance Lives series. With a view to the 700th anniversary of Dante's death, he continues to develo the online research project Dante’s Library. His articles on Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Machiavelli have appeared in PMLA, Renaissance Quarterly, Dante Studies, Mediaevalia, California Italian Studies, Quaderni d’Italianistica, Annali d’Italianistica and Le Tre Corone. His research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the American Academy in Rome, the American Philosophical Association, and the Fulbright Foundation.


  • Ph.D., Columbia University 2005
  • M.Phil., Columbia University 2002
  • B.A., Columbia University 1999

Eisner, Martin, and David Lummus, editors. A Boccaccian Renaissance Essays on the Early Modern Impact of Giovanni Boccaccio and His Works. University of Notre Dame Pess, 2019.

Eisner, Martin, et al., editors. Boccaccio and His World. Special Issue of Heliotropia, vol. 15, 2018.

Eisner, Martin. “Reading Dante in Renaissance Italy: Florence, Venice and the “Divine Poet.” Simon Gilson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. xiv + 434 pp. $120.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 72, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2019, pp. 1548–49. Crossref, doi:10.1017/rqx.2019.464. Full Text

Eisner, Martin. “Boccaccio: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works. Victoria Kirkham, Michael Sherberg, and Janet Levarie Smarr, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. xix + 556 pp. $50.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 68, no. 3, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2015, pp. 1108–10. Crossref, doi:10.1086/683948. Full Text

Eisner, M. G. “Rev. of Bonnie Mak, How the Page Matters.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 66, 2013, pp. 706–07.

Eisner, M. G. “Rev. of Rhiannon Daniels, Boccaccio and the Book.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 63, 2010, pp. 545–46.

Eisner, M. G. “Rev. of Carol Lansing, Power and Purity.H Italy., 2010.

Eisner, Martin. “Rhiannon Daniels. Boccaccio and the Book: Production and Reading in Italy 1340–1520. Italian Perspectives 19. London: Legenda, 2009. xi + 229 pp. $89.50.. ISBN: 978–1–906540–49–4.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 63, no. 2, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2010, pp. 545–46. Crossref, doi:10.1086/655234. Full Text Open Access Copy

Eisner, Martin G. “Review of Prue Shaw, ed. Dante: Monarchia on CD-ROM.” The Medieval Review, 2008.

Eisner, M. G. “Dante and the Author of the Decameron: Love, Literature, and Authority in Boccaccio.” The Oxford Handbook to Chaucer, edited by Suzanne Akbari and James Simpson, Oxford University Press, 2020.

Eisner, Martin. “The Language of Women in the World of God: Vernacularization.” Wiley-Blackwell  Companion to World Literature, 2020.

Eisner, Martin. “The Tale of Ferondo’s Purgatory (III.8).” The Decameron: Third Day, edited by Pier Massimo Forni and Francesco Ciabattoni, University of Toronto Press, 2014, pp. 153–73.

Eisner, M. “Boccaccio’s Renaissance.” Boccaccio and the European Literary Tradition, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2014, pp. 45–55.

Eisner, M. “Boccaccio's Renaissance.” Boccaccio and the European Literary Tradition, edited by P. Boitani and E. Di Rocco, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2014, pp. 45–55.

Eisner, Martin G. Giovanni Boccaccio "Commedia" and "Dante Alighieri". Edited by Choon Leong Seow et al., Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008.

Eisner, Martin G. ““Giovanni Boccaccio” "Commedia" and "Dante Alighieri".” The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, edited by Choon Leong Seow et al., Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008.

Eisner, M. “Chapter Five : Petrarch Reading Boccaccio: Revisiting the Genesis of the Triumphi.” Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition, vol. 31, 2007, pp. 131–46.

Eisner, Martin. “Dante and the Spectrum of Medieval Vernacular Poetry.” In.” Approaches to Teaching Dante, edited by Christopher Kleinhenz and Kristina Olson, Modern Language Association.

Eisner, Martin. Bridge Essay: Vernacularization and World Literature: The Language of Women in the World of God. Wiley, pp. 1–7. Crossref, doi:10.1002/9781118635193.ctwl0055. Full Text

Eisner, M. “Machiavelli in paradise: How reading dante and ovid shaped the prince.” Pmla, vol. 134, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 35–50. Scopus, doi:10.1632/pmla.2019.134.1.35. Full Text

Eisner, Martin. “Dante's Ballata: The Personification of Poetry and the Authority of the Vernacular in the Vita Nuova.” Mediaevalia, vol. 39, no. 1, Project Muse, 2018, pp. 299–318. Crossref, doi:10.1353/mdi.2018.0010. Full Text

Eisner, Martin. “A Singular Boccaccio: Defending and Defining Poetry in the Decameron and Genealogie.” Quaderni D Italianistica, vol. 38, Canadian Society for Italian Studies, 2017, pp. 179–99.

Eisner, M. “In the labyrinth of the library: Petrarch's Cicero, Dante's Virgil, and the historiography of the Renaissance.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 3, Jan. 2014, pp. 755–90. Scopus, doi:10.1086/678774. Full Text Open Access Copy

Eisner, M. G. “Boccaccio e l’invenzione della letteratura italiana.” Le Tre Corone, vol. 1, 2014, pp. 11–26. Open Access Copy

Eisner, M. G. “Eroticizing Theology in Day Three and the Poetics of the Decameron.” Annali D’Italianistica, vol. 31, 2013, pp. 207–24. Open Access Copy

Eisner, M., and M. Schachter. “Libido Sciendi: Apuleius, Boccaccio and the History of Sexuality.” Pmla, May 2009.

Eisner, Martin. Petrarch Reading Boccaccio: Revisiting the Genesis of the Triumphi. Edited by Teodolinda Barolini and H Wayne Storey, Brill, 2007.