Anna Lisa Somma

Photograph of Anna Lisa Somma

Department of Modern Languages
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD Title: 'Donna con donna' (woman with woman): representations of female-female desire in early modern Italian literature
Supervisor: Dr Charlotte Ross
PhD Italian Studies

I completed my BA in Italian literature at the University of Pisa and my MA in Modern Philology at the Sapienza University of Rome. I also obtained a Master’s Degree in Teaching Italian Culture and Italian as a Foreign Language at the Tor Vergata University of Rome.

I am currently a PhD student at the University of Birmingham (started in October 2015) and my project focuses on the representations of female-female desire in early modern Italian literature. My research is fully funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.

My interests include Italian literature, Italian linguistics, gender studies, early modern history, history of sexuality, and comparative literature.


My doctoral project aims to investigate the representations and the meanings of female-female desire in early modern Italian literature, analysing many textual forms and genres (cantari, comedies, pastoral dramas, etc.).

My research aspires to fill the present gaps, create the first, vast survey of female-female desire in early modern Italian literature and give an interpretation of the collected data coherent with their socio-cultural context.

My work has three main objectives: 1) to demonstrate the existence of a variety of forms of female-female desire in Italian early modern period; 2) to examine their modes of representations and their meanings in Renaissance literary imagery; 3) to investigate the narrative, linguistic and stylistic strategies adopted by Italian writers (especially women) to express – more or less explicitly – some peculiar values and/or transgressive tendencies.

Other activities

I worked as a journalist (2003-2009), a web content specialist (2007-2009; 2012-2014) and an Italian language assistant (2009; 2014).

I have been working as a literary reviewer since 2008.


  • Anna Lisa Somma, ‘Donna amando pur donna essendo: note per una lettura di genere dell'opera e della figura di Maddalena Campiglia’, AG About Gender (2014), 5
  • Anna Lisa Somma, ‘Il convolvolo e il pozzo: voci muliebri nei «Canti d'amore giapponesi» (1902) e memorie dannunziane’, Soglie (2013), 2; 37-52
  • Anna Lisa Somma, ‘Le haijin soldat: gli haiku al fronte di Julien Vocance’, Soglie (2009), 3; 12-19
  • Anna Lisa Somma, ‘Le giapponeserie di Giuseppe Ungaretti nel dibattito critico italiano’, Soglie (2010), 2; 60-71
  • Anna Lisa Somma, ‘«Meglio ancora delle sue opere, che nessuno più legge»: note per la riscoperta di Maddalena Campiglia (1553-1595)’, Revista italiano UERJ (2014), 1. 5; 181-213