Dr Luisa Ostacchini

Dr Luisa Ostacchini

College Lecturer in English Literature


I read English and Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick, then worked in library systems and academic integrity at the University of Reading, before moving to Oxford for an MSt in Medieval English Literature and subsequently a DPhil in Old English and Latin literature, both at Wolfson College. Since then I have taught at seven different Oxford colleges and the English Faculty. I am now based at St John's. I am also the Communications Officer for Oxford Medieval Studies.


I teach broadly across the Medieval period (with a particular interest in pre-conquest literature), and also teach both contemporary literary theory and history of the language (with particular interests in queer theory and translation studies). In 2023–24 I am teaching at both St John's College and at the English Faculty.

At St John's I teach five undergraduate papers, largely on the subject of Medieval Literature.

For first year students, I teach Prelims Paper 1A, which deals with the history of the English language and socio-linguistics, and Prelims Paper 1B, which introduces students to literary theory. I also teach Prelims Paper 2: Literature 650–1350, which focuses on some of the very earliest literature written in English, including the heroic poem Beowulf, surprisingly bawdy Old English riddles, and the remarkable religious poem The Dream of the Rood. These papers compliment each other in interrogating what we mean by both 'English' and 'Literature', and in providing students with a firm foundation on which to build the rest of their degree.

For second year students, I teach FHS Paper 2: Literature in English 1350–1550, which examines one of the most exciting periods of English literary production, including the romantic yearning and classical inheritance of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde; the magic and chivalry of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and the so called ‘first autobiography’ in English – the life of the irrepressible East-Anglian bourgeoise, failed businesswoman, and would-be saint, Margery Kempe.

I also teach Course II Paper 1: Literature in English 650–1100, for students who have opted to take Course II and specialise in Medieval Literature for their FHS papers. This is a specialised paper that allows in-depth examination of Old English texts beyond those studied in prelims, and encourages students to pursue their individual research interests.

Research Interests

My research broadly considers ideas of the world in medieval literature. In particular, I am interested in how writers and scholars from early medieval England (650-1100) were thinking about places outside of England, and how they saw their relationship to the global world around them. To this end, my interests largely move between the interrelated areas of translation between Latin and the vernacular; pre-modern national and international identity; and medieval travel. I am also interested in questions of interconnectivity, inclusivity and intratextuality in medieval works, especially in collections of saints’ lives.

Selected publications

Luisa Ostacchini_Aelfric book


Translating Saints: Europe in Ælfric's ‘Lives of Saints (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2024).

Articles/Book chapters

'Ælfric of Eynsham and the Treatise De ebrietate cauenda of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 63', Journal of Medieval Latin (forthcoming 2024)

'Rome Away from Rome: India, Rome and England in Ælfric’s Life of Saint Thomas', in Ideas of the World in Early Medieval English Literature, edited by Kazutomo Karasawa, Francis Leneghan, and Mark Atherton (Turnhout: Brepols, 2022)

'BHL 2178: A New Source for Ælfric's Life of Dionysius', Notes and Queries, 69.3 (2022): 187–89