Peter Lesnik

Ph.D. Candidate, Italian Studies
Contact Information
(215) 898-8985
(215) 898-0933

            I hold a B.A. and an M.A. from the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, where I graduated summa cum laude with a master thesis on the American filmmaker David Lynch (Il sorriso della Sfinge: enigmi ed enigmaticità nel cinema di David Lynch). I also received an MA in Italian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation, which focuses on the literary adaptations of Michelangelo Antonioni (An Adaptive Auteur: Michelangelo Antonioni as Plurality).


            My varied research interests include literary studies, cinema and media studies, adaptation studies and intermediality, ecocriticism, critical theory, psychoanalysis, trauma studies, and migration studies. My double concentration in Italian and Cinema and Media shapes my approach to research and teaching. I address the cultural objects that I investigate through an interdisciplinary perspective that combines an enhanced attention to textual and visual analysis with rigorous theoretical approaches and a major emphasis on contextual frameworks. I have researched and published on late nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers in Italian language, Italian cinema, adaptation, and ecocritical topics. In addition to my research, I am deeply invested in pedagogy, as teaching represents a pivotal concern in my professional development.



Awards and Grants:

  • Runner-up for the “Adaptation Essay Prize,” 2018
  • SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2018-2019
  • Dick Wolf Graduate Student Service Award in Cinema and Media Studies, 2018
  • Nominated for the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students, 2017
  • Salvatori Research Award, Center for Italian Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2015
  • H. Clifford Fellow, 2013-2014



  • “Failed Homecomings: Migration and Uprootedness in Cesare Pavese’s Late Novels.” [In progress]
  • Officina tassoniana. A Copying Enterprise in Early 19th-century Modena.” [In progress]
  • “Pavese, Antonioni, and the Specters of the Italian Civil War.” [Forthcoming; Adaptation; runner-up for the Adaptation Essay Prize; 5000 words]
  • “Michelangelo Antonioni: Images of the Planet in the Age of the Anthropocene.” [Forthcoming; Synoptique 8.1 (Winter 2018-2019); 9000 words]
  • “Spettrali sovrapposizioni. Danza e ingegneria sociale in Amore e ginnastica di Edmondo de Amicis.” [Forthcoming; Editoria & Spettacolo; 7500 words]
  • “In una barchetta di carta. Derive della speranza nella narrativa di Guido Morselli.” In Futuro italiano. Scritture del tempo a venire. Eds. Alessandro Benassi, Fabrizio Bondi, Serena Pezzini. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi, 2012. 215-229.