Brenda Deen Schildgen

A picture of Professor Schildgen, smiling at the viewer

Position Title
Distinguished Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature


Education and Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • M.A., Comparative Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • M.A., Religious Studies, University of San Francisco
  • B.A., English and French, University of Wisconsin

Research Interest(s)

  • European Middle Ages, particularly Southern Europe
  • Reception theory
  • The relationship between history and fiction
  • Biblical hermeneutics
  • Interpretive theory
  • Art and Literature

Course(s) Taugh

  • COM 5. Fairy Tales, Fables, and Parables
  • COM 6. Myths and Legends
  • COM 151. Colonial and Postcolonial Experience in Literature
  • COM 164A. The European Middle Ages
  • COM 167. Comparative Study of Major Authors: "Dante"
  • COM 180. Topic: "Medievalism"
  • COM 210. Graduate Seminar: "The Reception of Virgil's Aeneid"
  • ENL 171A. The Bible as Literature


Brenda Deen Schildgen, 2008 recipient of the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, specializes in the European Middle Ages, Bible as Literature, Dante, and Jewish, Christian, and Moslem relations in the European Middle Ages. She has a strong secondary interest in colonial and post-colonial literature, especially of Africa and the Indian subcontinent. She is a recipient of numerous fellowships including National Endowment for the Humanities, PEW, Bogliasco Foundation, the National Humanities Center in 2005-06, and Director, 2013-14 NEH Summer Institute, Florence, Italy, June 30-July 24, 2014, “Dante’s Divine Comedy: poetry, philosophy, and the city of Florence.”

Committees and Service

  • Chair of Dept. of Comparative Literature, 2006-2011.
  • Chair of Letters and Science Executive Committee, 2015-2016.

Selected Publications

  • Dante and Violence: Domestic, Civic, Cosmic. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2021.
  • Dante e l’Oriente (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2016), reprinted in Corriere della Sera, June, 2021, centennial kiosk edition.
  • Divine Providence: Virgil, Bible, Orosius, Augustine, and Dante (Continuum, 2012).
  • Heritage or Heresy: Destruction and Preservation of Art and Architecture in Europe (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2008).
  • Medieval Readings of Romans, co-edited with William S. Campbell and Peter S. Hawkins (T & T Clark, 2007).
  • Other Renaissances, co-edited volume with Gang Zhou and Sander Gilman (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007), translated into Arabic (The National Council for Culture, Arts & Letters,  Safat, Kuwait, 2015).
  • Dante and the Orient (University of Illinois, 2002), translated into Arabic 2010 (The National Center for Translation, the Ministry of Culture, Egypt); translated into Italian, Dante e l’Oriente (Rome: Salerno, 2016).
  • Power and Prejudice: Reception of the Gospel of Mark (Wayne State, 1999), Choice best book award in 1999.
  • Pagans, Tartars, Jews, and Moslems in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Florida, 2001).
  • Editor, The Rhetoric Canon (1997).
  • Co-editor, Boccaccio's Decameron and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (2000).
  • Co-editor, The World of Fables.

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