Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Italian Studies
Prior to coming to Notre Dame in 2011, Zygmunt G. Baranski served as the Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Cambridge, where he headed the Department of Italian in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. Among the world’s foremost authorities on Dante, Baranski’s scholarly interests include Dante and medieval poetics, and modern Italian literature, film, and culture.
The author or editor of sixteen books and more than one hundred articles, Baranski’s recent publications include Petrarch and Dante. Baranski’s present research examines Dante’s Vita nova's relationship to and reflections on contemporary literature. He is also currently writing a book which explores Italian poet Guido Cavalcanti’s reception in the late 13th- and early 14th- centuries, focusing in particular on the reactions he garnered from Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.
The O’Brien Professorships were established with a bequest from Rev. John A. O’Brien, a 40-year member of the Notre Dame faculty. A popular Catholic apologist who reached millions of readers, O’Brien was a leader of the Newman Club movement and an early advocate of Church renewal through the Second Vatican Council.