My research lies mainly in the renaissance period and focuses on the connections between literature, art and society, on questions of literary genre and aesthetic practice, and on women's studies. I am currently writing a monograph, provisionally called The Grace of the Italian Renaissance, that examines the notion of ‘grace’ in renaissance culture, literature and art and developing the next phase of a collaborative research project on Early Modern Keywords. This project has already produced the interdisciplinary conference I organised at Birmingham in September 2008 and the volume I edited, Renaissance Keywords, which was published with Legenda in 2013.
My first book was on the representation of women in Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando furioso and on the making of a poem that both curses and blesses them (see below). Other publications include essays on travel in Ariosto's poem and on grace in Ariosto, Castiglione and Raphael. In the modern period I have published on the contemporary writer Maria Rosa Cutrufelli.
As well as the Balzan research project mentioned below (see ‘Other activities’), I serve on the editorial board of 'Renaissance Studies' and am a member of the Society for Italian Studies, the Society of Renaissance Studies and the Birmingham-based Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies.