Spotlight on Flavia Bruni

flaviabruniFlavia Bruni first arrived in St Andrews in September 2009 to work as an intern to the USTC project. After her Master’s degree in the ‘History of the Age of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation’ at the University of Rome La Sapienza, with a dissertation on the devotion to St Joseph between the 15th and 16th centuries, Flavia earned a doctoral degree in History and Computer Science at the University of Bologna in 2006, and a MPhil degree in Early Printed Book Studies at the University of Siena at the end of the same year. In 2009 she undertook a diploma in Library Science at the Vatican Library School, and is now on the verge of completing a second PhD in Book History at the University of Siena. After working on a number of extensive projects focussed upon the study and cataloguing of early printed books in Italy, Flavia returned to St Andrews as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the USTC in September 2012, to undertake work on the Italian arm of the project.

Her research with the Italian RICI project (Ricerca sull’Inchiesta della Congregazione dell’Indice) on 16th-century inventories of Italian monastic libraries, begun in 2001, led Flavia to bibliography and history of books and libraries, particularly of the Early Modern Age, with a main focus on forbidden books and censorship. She also has keen interests in the field of digital humanities, especially in the theory and practice of text encoding and modelling, digitisation of manuscripts and early printed books, digital libraries and digital preservation. Flavia has also taken part in research investigating itinerant printing in Italy between 15th and 17th century “Mobilità dei mestieri del libro in Italia fra Quattrocento e Seicento” and to the two conferences related to that project. She is now co-organising, with Andrew Pettegree (co-ordinator of the USTC project), the sixth USTC Conference on Lost Books.

Chained books at the Biblioteca Malatestiana, Cesena.

Chained books at the Biblioteca Malatestiana, Cesena.

In her first book, “Erano di molti libri proibiti”. Frate Lorenzo Lucchesi e la censura libraria a Lucca alla fine del Cinquecento, Flavia reassessed the case of a friar who acted as the official censor for the Bishop of the Republic of Lucca at the end of the 16th century, who has been erroneously considered by scholarship to be a “libertine friar” because of the number of forbidden books that he kept. After a series of articles on book inventories and physical markings on books, such as ownership inscriptions, bindings and labels, as sources for the history of libraries in the Modern Age, Flavia is now working to her second monograph. This will trace the history of the book collection of the Servite cloister of San Pier Piccolo of Arezzo (Italy) from the 16th century to today, and in so doing will suggest a new approach to the history of censorship throughout the Early Modern Catholic world.

On a visit to the Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, with St Andrews students in May 2013.

On a visit to the Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, with St Andrews students in May 2013.

Since 2012 Flavia has participated in the teaching of the M.Litt. Degree in Book History, in particular working with students on the core course ‘The Hand Press Book from Renaissance to Romanticism (MO5113), and the training module on ‘Technical Bibliography’ (MO5012).

Living in the UK is a dream come true for Flavia, a passionate fan of British indie rock bands, and whenever she is not busy with research she is apt to escape to Dundee or Glasgow to enjoy gigs and rummage around in record shops, waiting for the big event of the year – mud bathing at T in the Park!

About standrewshistory
With over forty fulltime members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from Scotland to Byzantium and the Americas to South Asia. Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching, allowing for in-depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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