V Stanley Benfell

Professor, Comparative Arts & Letters

3027 JFSB


Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: , , ,

Teaching Experience

I teach both General Education and advanced undergraduate courses and enjoy teaching both. With Scott Miller. Here are some highlights of my teaching career:
awarded Alcuin fellowship in General Education
awarded Honors Professor of the Year
developed the global civilization sequence, CmLit 211 and 212.


I specialize in European literature of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, especially in the Italian, English, and French traditions. I am particularly interested in questions concerning literature and philosophy and literature and religion. I spent several years focusing on the Italian poet Dante, and I am currently interested in the relationship between Renaissance literature, especially comedy, and philosophical skepticism, focusing in particular on the Shakespeare and the French essayist Montaigne.

Selected Publications

  •  The Biblical Dante. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.
  •  “Disowning Certainty: Tragic and Comic Skepticism in Cavell, Montaigne, and Shakespeare.” Stanley Cavell and Aesthetic Understanding. Ed. Garry Hagberg. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 109-31.
  •  “’I Do Not Consider the Profane and the Sacred to Be Separate Things or Opposed Things’: An Interview with Marilynne Robinson, September 15, 2016.” (With George Handley) Literature & Belief 38.2 (2018): 83-108.
  •  “Avarice, Justice, and Poverty in Dante’s Comedy.” Laster im Mittelalter / Vices in the Middle Ages. Ed. Christoph Flüeler and Martin Rhode. Scrinium Friburgense 23. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. 201-229.
  •  “Blessed are They that Hunger After Justice: From Vice to Beatitude in Dante’s Purgatorio.” The Seven Deadly Sins: From Individuals to Communities. Ed. Richard Newhauser. Leiden: Brill, 2007. 185-206.
  •  “Dante, Peter John Olivi, and the Franciscan Apocalypse.” Dante and the Franciscans. Ed. Santa Casciani. Leiden: Brill, 2006. 9-50.
  •  “’Until the End of the World’: U2, Eschatology, and Heidegger’s ‘Being Toward Death.’” U2 and Philosophy. Ed. Mark Wrathall. Chicago: Open Court, 2006. 135-145.
  •  “Translating Petrarchan Desire in Vittoria Colonna and Gaspara Stampa.” Translating Desire in Medieval and Early Modern Literature. Ed. Craig A. Berry and Heather Richardson Hayton. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2005. 109-131.
  •  “Tasso’s God: Narrative Authority in the Gerusalemme Liberata.” Modern Philology 97 (1999): 173-94.
  •  “Biblical Truth in the Examination Cantos of Dante’s Paradiso.” Dante Studies 115 (1997): 89-109.
  •  “‘Uno sarà il fine’: Tasso’s Domestication of Allegory,” Quaderni d’italianistica 18 (1997): 205-19.
  • “Prophetic Madness: The Bible in Inferno XIX.” MLN 110 (1995): 145-63. Rpt. in Dante: The Critical Complex, ed. Richard Lansing, vol. 4, Dante and Theology: The Biblical Tradition and Christian Allegory (New York and London: Routledge, 2003), 323-41.
  •  “Nimrod, the Ascent to Heaven, and Dante’s ‘ovra inconsummabile.’” Dante Studies 110 (1992): 77-93.
  • “Exemplarity and the Interpretive Frame in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron.” Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association 11 (1990): 49-77.


I have been asked to serve in various citizenship roles during my time at the university, and in my service I attempt to keep in mind the overall AIMS of a BYU education and to help ensure the educational opportunities of our students, while also supporting faculty in their teaching and research. University and academic service is essential work that needs to be done well, and often it requires us to put aside our own goals in order to help others achieve their goals.

Citizenship assignments

  •  Associate Editor, Quidditas, 1999-2005
  •  Chair, Department of Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature (now Comparative Arts & Letters), 2003-06
  • Member, Honors Faculty Council, 2002-05
  •  Coordinator, European Studies, 2009-12
  •  Member of Executive Council, Medieval Association of the Pacific, 2009-2012
  •  Editor, Connections, vol. 8, 2012
  •  Member, College of Humanities Rank and Status Committee, 2012-14 (chair of the committee, 2013-14)
  •  Director, BYU Study Abroad in London, Summer and Fall, Summer and Fall 2008 and 2014
  •  Associate Director for Research and Academic Programs, David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, May 2018—present
  •  Chair, GE Design Committee, 2019

Office Hours:
Mondays 10:00-11:00
3027 JFSB

Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00
3027 JFSB