Douglass College/Rutgers (B.A., triple major in Italian,
Spanish, and French, 1981);
Università di Firenze, Università di Perugia, Italy
(academic year 1979-80);
Universidad de Valencia, Spain (summer 1980);
Institut d'Études Françaises d'Avignon, France (summer
Yale University (M.A., 1984; Ph.D., 1987).
Following a year at the University of Washington in Seattle, Professor Cavallo has been on the faculty of Columbia's Department of Italian since 1988. Her field of specialization is the Renaissance romance epic (primarily Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso). Other courses she has taught in the department include Petrarch and Boccaccio, fifteenth century civic humanism and Neoplatonism, Machiavelli, Castiglione, the history of the Italian language, Italian cinema, allegorical literature, political literature, and forgotten best-sellers of the Renaissance. In 1995 she founded the Columbia University Summer Program in Scandiano, which she directed for seven consecutive years. She has taught Literature Humanities regularly since 1993 and more recently has team-taught the two-semester interdisciplinary colloquium "Nobility and Civility."
Professor Cavallo is the author of Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato: An Ethics of Desire (Associated University Presses, 1993), The Romance Epics of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso: From Public Duty to Private Pleasure (University of Toronto Press, 2004), and co-editor of Fortune and Romance: Boiardo in America (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1998). She has also published articles on early Christian and gnostic literature (the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Truth), on Italian authors from the medieval to the modern period (Dante, Petrarch, Boiardo, Ariosto, Castiglione, Machiavelli, Tasso, Giordano Bruno, and Elsa Morante), and on folk traditions that dramatize epic narratives (Sicilian puppet theater and the epic Maggio of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines). She filmed and edited a full-length documentary about the epic Maggio tradition (on DVD, 2003).
has adapted several episodes from Boiardo’s Orlando
Innamorato into comedies that have been performed in various regions of
Italy (2000-2006), and in English translation in New York City (Medieval
Festival at Fort Tryon Park, September 2003; Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell, July 15-17, 2006). She has
also written a bilingual young readers' version of Boiardo’s poem, Orlando Innamorato per ragazzi (2001),
and collaborated on scripts for the Emilian epic Maggio and Sicilian puppet