Guido Giglioni

Cassamarca Senior Lecturer in Neo-Latin Cultural and Intellectual History

Guido Giglioni teaches Renaissance Latin and philosophy at the Warburg Institute. His research deals with early modern ideas of life and imagination, and their relationships with both matter and knowledge.

He studied philosophy at the University of Macerata, Italy, and graduated in history of science and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University in 2002 with a PhD dissertation on Francis Glisson, a seventeenth-century English anatomist who also engaged in philosophical inquiries on the nature of life. In his treatise on substance and its energy (De natura substantiae energetica, 1672), Glisson laid the foundations for the modern notion of irritability, described as an original property of matter. As Francis Bacon is one of the main sources in Glisson’s work, on both a medical and philosophical level, in the past few years, Giglioni has been carrying out a wide-ranging research to trace the Baconian roots of early modern ideas of matter and life (from Telesio to Lamarck). An integral part of Giglioni’s research programme is a comprehensive study of the imagination, as this faculty played a key role in explaining the vital processes of embodiment and ensoulment, both below and beyond the level of the representative powers (i.e., the senses and the intellect).

Some recent publications:

‘Philosophy’, in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 249-262.

‘From the Woods of Experience to the Open Fields of Metaphysics: Bacon’s Notion of Silva’, Renaissance Studies, 28 (2014), pp. 242-261.

‘Theurgy and Philosophy in Marsilio Ficino’s Paraphrase of Iamblichus’s De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum’, Rinascimento, 52 (2014 [2012]), pp. 3-36.

‘Francis Bacon’, in The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century, ed. by Peter R. Anstey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 41-72.

‘Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the Place of Irritability in the History of Life and Death’, in Vitalism and the Scientific Image in Post-Enlightenment Life Science, 1800-2010, ed. by Sebastian Normandin and Charles T. Wolfe (Dordrecht: Springer, 2013), pp. 19-49.

‘Girolamo (Geronimo) Cardano’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (

‘What Ever Happened to Francis Glisson? Albrecht Haller and the Fate of Eighteenth-Century Irritability’, Science in Context, 21 (2008), pp. 1-29.

List of Publications