Dennis Looney served as director of the Office of Programs and director of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages at the Modern Language Association from 2014-2021. From 1986 to 2013, he taught Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, with secondary appointments in Classics and Philosophy. He was chair of the Department of French and Italian for eleven years and assistant dean of humanities for three years at Pitt. He is the 2022 recipient of the James E. Alatis Founder’s Award from the Joint National Committee for Languages for “a lifetime of exceptional contributions to advancing language and international education.”

Publications include Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian Renaissance, Wayne State University Press (1996), which received honorable mention in the 1996–97 joint Howard R. Marraro Prize and Scaglione Award in Italian Studies from the MLA, and Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy, Notre Dame Press (2011), which received the American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize (general category) in 2011. With D. Mark Possanza, he is co-editor and translator of Ludovico Ariosto’s Latin Poetry, I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press (2018).

Some key research interests: Renaissance Studies; comparative literature; reception of the classical tradition; vernacular classicism; history of the book; Italian; Latin; Greek; Medievalisms; Dante; Divine Comedy; Matteo Maria Boiardo; Ludovico Ariosto; Torquato Tasso; romance/epic; Neo-Latin poetry; Herodotus. Trends in higher education, humanities, and international education.



PhD, Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1987)

MA, Sacred Poetics, Boston University (1980)

BA, Classical Greek, Boston University (1978)


Dennis Looney

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