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, T. J. “Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth.” In A Catholic Studies Reader, edited by James T. Fisher and Maureen M. McGuinness, 35ms.pages-35ms.pages. Fordham University Press, 2011.

Ferraro, T. J. “Boys to Men (Salvific Masculinity in /Angels with Dirty Faces/).” In Catholics in the Movies, edited by Colleen McDannell, 59–82. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ferraro, T. J. “Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth: Beyond the Puritan Pedagogy of /The Scarlet Letter/.” In American Catholic Studies, edited by James T. Fisher and Maureen McGuinness. Fordham University Press, 2008.

Ferraro, T. J. “Italian-American Literature.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, edited by Jay Parini, 2:275–84. Oxford UP, 2004.

Ferraro, T. J. “Urbane Villager.” In Frank Sinatra: History, Identity, and Italian American Culture, edited by Stanislao Pugliese. 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 P. D. Acierno, J. Ockman, and R. Sargent. Monacelli Press, 2003.

Ferraro, T. J. “Italian Americans.” In Scribner’s Encyclopedia of US Intellectual and Cultural History, edited by Mary Kupiec Cayton and Peter W. Williams, 363–73, 2001.

Ferraro, T. J. “Catholic Ethnicity and the Modern American Arts.” In The Italian American Heritage, edited by Pellegrino D. Acierno, 331–52. Garland, 1999.

Ferraro, T. J. “Catholic Ethnicity and the Modern American Arts.” In The Italian American Heritage: A Companion to the Arts, edited by P. D. Acierno, 331–52. Garland, 1998.

Ferraro, T. J. “The Souls of Catholic Folk: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cather.” In American and European National Identities: Faces in the Mirror, edited by Stephen Fender, 73–87. Keele UP, UK, 1996.


Ferraro, T. J. “Review of A New Literary History of America.” American Literature, December 2012.

Ferraro, T. J. “Between Women; or, On Our Knees to Don Corleone.” Edited by Christian Messenger and JoAnne Ruvoli Gruba. Via 19 (2009): 1–20.

Ferraro, T. J. “Contribution to MLA Roundtable in honor of AL at Seventy-Five.” American Literature 77 (September 2005): 634–36.

Budd, L. J., M. Moon, D. D. Nelson, C. Newfield, and T. J. Ferraro. “Roundtable: 'American Literature' at seventy-five - Discussion.” American Literature 77, no. 3 (September 2005): 621–36.

Ferraro, T. J. “Of ’Lascivious Mysticism’ and Other Hibernian Matters.” U.S. Catholic Historian 23 (2005): 1–17.

Ferraro, T. J. “Lorenzo's chrism.” South Atlantic Quarterly 103, no. 1 (December 1, 2004): 235–63. Full Text

Ferraro, T. J. “Lorenzo’s Chrism.” Saq 103 (2004): 235–63.

Ferraro, T. J. “At long last love; Or, literary history in the key of difference.” American Literary History 15, no. 1 (December 1, 2003): 78–86. Full Text

Ferraro, T. J. “Review of Beyond The Godfather: Italian American Writers on the Real Italian American Experience.” Edited by A Kenneth Ciongoli and J. Parini. Italian Americana, January 2002.


Ferraro, T. J. “"The Godfather as 'The Great American Novel".” The Millions, n.d.

Ferraro, T. J. “Transgression & Redemption in the 1930s.” Edited by Williams Soloman. The Cambridge Companion to American Literature of the 1930s. CUP, September 2018.