Teresa Valentini

Teresa Valentini

Teresa Valentini

PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature


“What I have always found impressive is U of T’s immense library resources.”

I was born in Fano, a small seaside town on the Adriatic coast in Italy. I have always been passionate about reading and studying literary texts, allowing me to build a solid knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Italian language and literature during high school. I attended the University of Siena, famous for its long-standing school of criticism and literary theory.

During the second year of my MA program, I participated in the International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) program at U of T, which allowed me to audit some classes, giving me the opportunity to keep broadening my interests, while working on my research.

As a PhD candidate, I am interested in analyzing the correlation of time and the novel at the turn of the 20th century in order to reach a better understanding of the nature of the Modernist phenomenon. The Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto is a natural place to pursue a project that not only deals with various literary traditions, but also examines the intersection between at least two countries and two cultures. I was drawn to U of T and the centre, in particular for its active intellectual community where students are encouraged to organize conferences.

What I have always found impressive is U of T’s immense library resources. U of T’s library is one of the biggest in North America and it contains a huge number of books and articles in English and in other languages. Moreover, I especially appreciate U of T’s professors’ availability: whether to talk about a personal issue or a concern about my program, or to ask some questions about material from class, professors always make time to listen to students’ concern and ideas and they always praise good work and encourage publishing outstanding essays. This way, students do not feel they are by themselves in dealing with the matter of publication and can benefit from the professors’ experience to learn faster how to deal with the academic job market.  

My advice to any student who wants to pursue a PhD program is to consider thoroughly the commitment that this level of studies requires. Even though PhD students are called “students,” one should consider a doctorate a job, and, in this job, unlike many others, the amount of time devoted to working and studying goes well beyond the official hours of classes or teaching. The satisfaction entailed in studying and writing about the subject one is most passionate, is immense and incredibly rewarding.