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Leah Whittington is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English and an affiliate of the Department of the Classics at Harvard University. She specializes in the literature and culture of the European Renaissance, with a focus on the rediscovery, appropriation, and transformation of classical antiquity. Her first book, Renaissance Suppliants: Poetry, Antiquity, Reconciliation (Oxford University Press, 2016), studies supplication as a social and literary event in the long European Renaissance, showing how Renaissance writers use postures of humiliation and abjection to think through problems of estrangement, difference, and inequality.
While at Radcliffe, Whittington is working on a book about the role of supplements and continuations in Renaissance literary culture, broadly defined as texts that announce themselves as adding to, carrying forward, or finishing other texts. This book examines the relationship between literary continuations and other early modern continuative practices, such as textual criticism and sculptural restoration, exploring how damaged and fragmentary works inspired new theories and practices of artistic creation.
After receiving a PhD in comparative literature from Princeton University, Whittington was a Mellon Fellow at the Columbia Society of Fellows in the Humanities before joining the faculty at Harvard in 2012. She is also currently an associate editor of the I Tatti Renaissance Library series at Harvard University Press.