Professor David Robey

Arts and Humanities Consultant



Prof David Robey


College position:



I was educated at Winchester College and graduated from Oxford in Modern Languages in 1966. After brief spells as lecturer at Lake Forest College, Illinois, and the University of Reading, from 1968 I was appointed a  University Lecturer in Italian at Oxford. I joined Wolfson College as a Governing Body Fellow in 1970, was Tutor for Admissions for a number of years, and (briefly) Acting Bursar. I left (and was appointed an Emeritus Fellow) in 1989, to be Professor of Italian at Manchester University, where I also became Dean of the Arts Faculty. In 1998 I moved to the University of Reading as Professor of Italian, and from 2003 to 2008 I was Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council's ICT in Arts and Humanities Research Programme. I retired from Reading in 2008, and am currently part-time Digital Humanities Consultant at the Oxford e-Research Centre. 

I was Chair of the Society for Italian Studies  from 1998 to 2003, and have served on a variety of AHRC, British Library, JISC, HEFCE and HEFCE-related committees or panels over the years, including the HEFCE Learning and Teaching Committee.  I was Chair from 1996 to 2002 of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Romance Studies, University of London, and more recently chaired a Sub-Committee on the Future of the London Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies.I was for many years President of the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing. I have served on a number of European Science Foundation panels, and chaired the Humanities Panel of the ESF-supported review of Portuguese research centres funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.

I have published on 15th-century Italian humanism (educational and poetic theory), language and style in Dante and Renaissance narrative poetry, the computer analysis of literature, and modern critical theory. I was joint editor (with Ann Jefferson) of Modern Literary Theory.  A Comparative Introduction (Batsford, 1982 and 1986), and editor of Structuralism.  An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 1973), originally one of the earliest series of Wolfson College Lectures. I have authored a computer-based study on Sound and Structure in Dante's 'Divine Comedy' (OUP, 2000). I extended this work to include the major narrative poems of the Italian Renaissance, now in the form of a substantial on-line analytical database on 'Sound and Metre in Italian Narrative Verse' at I was joint editor of the Oxford Companion to Italian Literature (now translated into Italian as the Enciclopedia della Letteratura Italiana Oxford/Zanichelli), and joint author of Italian Literature: A Very Short Introduction and Dante: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012 and 2015), all with Peter Hainsworth.

I was until recently an Oxfordshire Justice of the Peace, and Vice-Chair of Kidlington Parish Council.