Marilyn Migiel

Professor of Romance Studies, Kappa Alpha Professor in Literature


Marilyn Migiel '75 is professor of Romance Studies in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell. Migiel received her A.B. in Medieval Studies (as an independent major) from Cornell University in 1975 and her Ph.D. in Italian Language and Literature from Yale University in 1981.

While Migiel teaches and works on a wide array of texts and authors from the Italian Middle Ages to the present day, she is known primarily for her feminist readings of medieval and Renaissance Italian literature and for her studies of Giovanni Boccaccio’s work, especially the Decameron.

Having benefited immensely from her undergraduate study with Cornell faculty who were outstanding teachers, scholars, and writers, Migiel is deeply committed to undergraduate education and to the teaching of writing.

Research Focus

  • Italian literature and culture (especially 1200-1600)
  • Feminist criticism



  • Veronica Franco in Dialogue (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022), recipient of the MLA’s 2021 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Prize for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies
  • The Ethical Dimension of the “Decameron”  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015), recipient of the MLA’s 2016 Howard R. Marraro Prize for outstanding scholarship in Italian.
  • A Rhetoric of the “Decameron” (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), recipient of the MLA’s 2004 Howard R. Marraro Prize for outstanding scholarship in Italian.
  • Gender and Genealogy in Tasso’s “Gerusalemme Liberata” (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1993).

Edited volume

  • Refiguring Woman: Perspectives on Gender and the Italian Renaissance, eds. Marilyn Migiel and Juliana Schiesari (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).


  • “What Can a Maidservant Do for You? Answers from the Men and Women of Boccaccio’s Decameron.” Rivista di Letteratura Tardogotica e Quattrocentesca 5 (January 2023): 139-51.
  • "In Boccaccio We Trust?" MLN 134 (January 2019): 1-21.
  • "Tests and Traps in Boccaccio's De casibus virorum illustrium." Heliotropia 15 (2018): 253-66.
  • "Reading the Decameron with Matteo Bandello: Novella 2.24." Spunti e ricerche 32 (2017): 141-51.
  • “Boccaccio and Women,” in The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio, eds. Guyda Armstrong, Rhiannon Daniels, and Stephen J. Milner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 171-84.
  • “New Lessons in Criticism and Blame from the Decameron.”  Heliotropia  7:1-2 (2010): 5-30.
  • “The Untidy Business of Gender Studies: Or, Why It’s Almost Useless to Ask if the Decameron is Feminist,” in Boccaccio and Feminist Criticism, eds. Thomas C. Stillinger and F. Regina Psaki (Chapel Hill: Annali d’Italianistica, 2006), 217-33.