Giulia Ricca

Giulia Ricca


Giulia Ricca is a PhD candidate in Italian and Comparative Literature at Columbia. She earned her BA in Classics and her MA in Italian Literature, Philology and Linguistics from the University of Turin.

Giulia was awarded the Garrone Prize for young critics (Premio Garrone per i giovani critici) in 2020. She is the recipient of both the Teaching Scholar and the Literature Humanities Preceptor fellowships at Columbia for the A. A. 2023-24 and 2024-25.  For Summer 2024, she has been appointed as a language instructor for the Columbia Summer Program in Venice. Previously, she taught Elementary I and II and Intermediate Italian I and II. Giulia is a member of Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS). Since Fall 2023, she has served as rapporteur for the seminars in Studies in Modern Italy.

Giulia has published articles and book chapters on several topics, including the form of the English and Italian personal essay in the 19th and 20th century, autobiography in contemporary literary criticism, poetry and philosophy, and the novel (Joyce and D’Annunzio; Manzoni and Tolstoy). Her first book, titled Epifania italiana. I classici di Joyce (“Italian Epiphany. Joyce’s Classics;” expected in April 2024) is a new assessment of the influence of Italian literature (Dante, D’Annunzio, Cavalcanti) on Joyce’s work, and discusses how Joyce’s understanding of Italian models shaped his theory of epiphany—an aesthetic that, while being modernist and surrealist, upholds principles of humanism and realism.

Giulia’s dissertation, The Insipid Woman. Manzoni and the Novel’s Moral, is concerned with the issue of female “insipidity” (lack of agency and personality) and its relationship with morals and manners in 18th and 19th century marriage novels. The primary focus of the dissertation is The Betrothed’s protagonist Lucia, whose censored speech and inhibited behavior can be interpreted as a sign of the moral issues shaping Manzoni’s tormented relationship with fiction, ultimately leading to his disownment of the novel. The Insipid Woman traces a genealogy of the “insipid” character by exploring the influence of the early English novel, the Classics, and Boccaccio and by looking at the impact of Enlightenment and Catholicism in Manzoni’s work, aiming to position it within the broader tradition of the European novel.

In her future projects, Giulia intends to further explore aspects of the novel at the intersection between ethics and literary conventions. Her longstanding interests include the legacy of the Classics in modernity and contemporaneity, the history of literary taste, and the ongoing debates shaping literary criticism.