Thomas J. Ferraro

Thomas J. Ferraro

Professor of English

External address: 
323 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 684-3718
Office Hours: 
Fall 2018 Office Hours W, 3:15-4:30; Th, 3:15-4:30; and by apt. 323 Allen Building Duke University Durham NC 27708-0015

Professor Ferraro is an aficionado of the great American stuff--Emily Dickinson, Edward Hopper, the Marx Brothers, and Nina Simone--who writes on literature, film, and the performing arts. He is the author of Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America (NYU, 2005; winner of a 2006 American Book Award), Ethnic Passages: Literary Immigrants in 20th-Century America (U Chicago, 1993), the editor of Catholic Lives, Contemporary America (Duke, 1997), and a contributor to The Columbia History of the American Novel, Scribner's Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, and The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature.  Contrary by temperament, at least as a scholar-critic, he is currently at work on a Marian Catholic pedagogy of the great American novel: a revisionist account of the interplay among violative self-making, transgressive sexuality and redemptive sacrifice, in an effort to recapture both the aesthetic wonder and social danger of the canonical warhorses (from Hawthorne's A Scarlet Letter and Melville's Billy Budd to Chopin, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Hurston) .  Of course his arguments don't always turn out as projected--witness the recent accounting of Willa Cather's The Professor's House, in which the resurgent discourse of sin gives Ferraro, like the title character, his comeuppance.


  • Ph.D., Yale University 1988
  • M.A., Yale University 1983
  • B.A., Amherst College 1979

Ferraro, TJ. "Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth." In A Catholic Studies Reader,edited by Fisher, JT and McGuinness, MM, 35 ms. pages-35 ms. pages.: Fordham University Press, 2011.

Ferraro, TJ. "Boys to Men (Salvific Masculinity in /Angels with Dirty Faces/)." In Catholics in the Movies,edited by McDannell, C, 59-82.: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ferraro, TJ. "Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth: Beyond the Puritan Pedagogy of /The Scarlet Letter/." In American Catholic Studies,edited by Fisher, JT and McGuinness, M.: Fordham University Press, 2008.

Ferraro, TJ. "Italian-American Literature." In Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature,edited by Parini, J, 275-284.: Oxford UP, February 2004.

Ferraro, TJ. "Urbane Villager." In Frank Sinatra: History, Identity, and Italian American Culture,edited by Pugliese, S.: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004.

Ferraro, T. "Giancarlo and the Border Patrol." In (In)Visible Cities: From the Postmodern Metropolis to the Cities of the Future,edited by Acierno, PD, Ockman, J and Sargent, R.: Monacelli Press, 2003. (Essay)

Ferraro, TJ. "Italian Americans." In Scribner’s Encyclopedia of US Intellectual and Cultural History,edited by Cayton, MK and Williams, PW, 363-73. 2001.

Ferraro, TJ. "Catholic Ethnicity and the Modern American Arts." In The Italian American Heritage,edited by Acierno, PD, 331-352.: Garland, 1999.

Ferraro, TJ. "Catholic Ethnicity and the Modern American Arts." In The Italian American Heritage: A Companion to the Arts,edited by Acierno, PD, 331-352.: Garland, 1998.

Ferraro, TJ. "The Souls of Catholic Folk: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cather." In American and European National Identities: Faces in the Mirror,edited by Fender, S, 73-87.: Keele UP, UK, 1996.


Ferraro, TJ. "Review of A New Literary History of America." American Literature (December 2012). (Review)

Ferraro, TJ. "Between Women; or, On Our Knees to Don Corleone." Edited by Messenger, C and Gruba, JR. Via 19 (2009): 1-20.

Ferraro, TJ. "Contribution to MLA Roundtable in honor of AL at Seventy-Five." American Literature 77 (September 2005): 634-36.

Budd, LJ, Moon, M, Nelson, DD, Newfield, C, and Ferraro, TJ. "Roundtable: 'American Literature' at seventy-five - Discussion." American Literature 77, no. 3 (September 2005): 621-636.

Ferraro, TJ. "Of ’Lascivious Mysticism’ and Other Hibernian Matters." U.S. Catholic Historian 23 (2005): 1-17.

Ferraro, TJ. "Lorenzo's chrism." South Atlantic Quarterly 103, no. 1 (December 1, 2004): 235-263. (Review) Full Text

Ferraro, TJ. "Lorenzo’s Chrism." Saq 103 (2004): 235-63.

Ferraro, TJ. ""At Long Last Love"; or, Literary History in the Key of Difference." American Literary History 15, no. 1 (March 1, 2003): 78-86. Full Text

Ferraro, TJ. "The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America." American Literature 74, no. 1 (March 1, 2002): 155-155. Full Text


Ferraro, TJ. "Transgression & Redemption in the 1930s." Edited by Soloman, W. The Cambridge Companion to American Literature of the 1930s (September 2018): 145-145.