I did my undergraduate studies at Glasgow University, graduating with an MA in classics in 1973 before going to Balliol College, Oxford, where I gained a BA in classics and Italian, followed by a D. Phil in Italian. My first academic job was as a lecturer in the Italian department at Edinburgh University (1977-90). I then moved Oxford to become University Lecturer in Italian and Student (ie Fellow) of Christ Church (1990-2001). I became the Agnelli-Serena Professor of Italian Studies in 2001, hence my move to Magdalen. I retired and became an Emeritus Fellow in 2017.
Italian Renaissance Literature; Renaissance Humanism; Renaissance Literary Theory; Renaissance Biography; Alberti; Petrarch; Poliziano; Tasso; The Classical Legacy in Italian Literature; Translation in the Renaissance; Contemporary Italian Fiction; Italo Calvino; Andrea De Carlo; Translation Studies
- Literary Imitation in the Italian Renaissance. The Theory and Practice of Literary Imitation in Italy from Dante to Bembo (OUP, 1995)
- Italo Calvino (Edinburgh UP, 1998)
- Leon Battista Alberti. La vita, l’umanesimo, le opere letterarie (Olschki, 2016)
- (ed.) Petrarch in Britain. Interpreters, Imitators and Translators over 700 Years (OUP, 2007)
- (ed.) Italy’s Three Crowns. Reading Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio (Bodleian Library, 2007)
- (ed.) Biographies and Autobiographies in Modern Italy (Legenda, 2007)
- (ed.) Dante in Oxford. The Paget Toynbee Lectures (Legenda, 2011)
- (ed.) Authority, Innovation and Early Modern Epistemology. Essays in Honour of Hilary Gatti (Legenda, 2015)
- (ed.) Machiavelli’s Prince. Traditions, Text and Translations (Viella, 2017)
- (trans.) Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics? (Cape, 1999)
- (trans.) Umberto Eco, On Literature (Secker & Warburg, 2005)
- (trans.) Italo Calvino, Collection of Sand (Penguin, 2013)
- (trans.) Italo Calvino, Letters 1941-1985 (Princeton UP, 2013)
- Alberti Lvdens. In Memory of Cecil Grayson, ed. F. Furlan, M. McLaughlin, H. Wulfram, special issue of Albertiana, 22:2 (2019) and 23:2 (2020).