Laura Tosi
English literature

What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests? 
My name is Laura Tosi and I focus on English literature and culture - mainly children's and kids' literature in the English area and English 16th-17th century theatre.

Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated from Ca' Foscari, taught Italian in the UK at university, returned to Italy for a PhD (in Pisa), then taught briefly in secondary schools and then won a research fellowship at Ca' Foscari in 1996. Since then, my career has continued at my Alma mater.

What are your professional role models / references?
There are many scholars/writers I admire or have admired - some are no longer with us: Umberto Eco, for one. My Cambridge colleague and friend Prof. Morag Styles. I admire people who communicate their research with passion - I don't like "cold" people, in university as in life ;-)

Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
No, I originally wanted to be a translator. Then I became passionate about literature (I also had some translation experience!) and spending my life studying it seemed the most exciting career.

What is the aspect of your research you are most passionate about?
The ability to "read" and interpret literary representations, which are also a form of human manifestation.

What does teaching and researching mean to you?
As far as teaching is concerned, I think it was Montaigne who said that teaching is not about filling a pot, but about lighting a fire. I would love to light many fires in my students. For me, researching is a great passion, one of the many things that give meaning to my life.

What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
Invitations to give lectures in the most beautiful places and the most prestigious situations. The invitation from the Osborne Collection of Early Children's books in Toronto to give the Pantazzi Memorial Lecture, one of the most prestigious lectures for those involved in Children's Literature. Invitations to speak at the Globe Theatre in London, Cambridge, Hong Kong, UCL, Richmond in Virginia, etc. The extraordinary people I met in these places and with whom professional exchanges have turned into solid friendships.

The area you have always wanted to be involved in but have not yet had the opportunity to explore?
I would like to explore the symbolic representation of animals in literature. I'm only at the beginning - it's a huge field - but I find it really interesting.

What would you say to young people starting their university career?
That they can finally study what they have chosen. It is no longer like high school, where they have to provide a general background. At university you study and explore what you really like following your own inclinations.

And to those approaching research today?
That it is a complex and very competitive career path, but for those who love to explore, for those who are hungry and thirsty for knowledge, for those who are never satisfied with what they already know and want to go further, this is a career that gives great rewards (except for financial ones, of course) ;-)

Why Ca’ Foscari and Venice?
Because it is a people-friendly university, in one of the most beautiful cities to live in, but at the same time city and university are connected to the whole world.

Last update: 28/02/2023