Thomas J. Ferraro

Thomas J. Ferraro

Professor of English

External address: 
421 Chapel Dr., Dept of English, Durham, NC 27708-0015
Internal office address: 
Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 684-3718
Office Hours: 
Fall 2020 Office HoursWednesdays and Fridays 4:30 -5:30 pmJoin me for my virtual office hours at:

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, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, Catholicism in the Movies, and The Catholic Studies Reader.  Contrary by temperament, at least as a scholar-critic, he has just completed his *big book*, Transgression & Redemption in American Fiction (Oxford UP, announced for early 2021): a revisionist account of the interplay among violative self-making, transgressive sexuality and redemptive sacrifice that recaptures both the aesthetic wonder and social danger of the classic mainline, from Hawthorne's A Scarlet Letter to masterworks by Chopin, James, Fitzgerald, Cather, and Hemingway.  For a preview of the issues in play, see his recent essay, "Transgression and Redemption in the 1930s" in William Solomon, ed., The Cambridge Companion to American Literature of the 1930s (CUP, 2018), 145-161.


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

Ferraro, Thomas J. Transgression and Redemption in American Fiction. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Ferraro, T. J. Feeling Italian: the Art of Ethnicity in America. New York UP, 2005.

Ferraro, Thomas J. Catholic Lives, Contemporary America, 1997.

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

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, Thomas J., and Bonnie TuSmith. “All My Relatives: Community in Contemporary Ethnic American Literatures.American Literature. JSTOR, June 1994. Full Text

Ferraro, T. J. “Transgression & Redemption in the 1930s.” edited by Williams Soloman, 145–145. CUP, 2018.

Ferraro, T. J. “Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth: Beyond the Puritan Pedagogy of /The Scarlet Letter/.” In The Catholic Studies Reader, edited by James T. Fisher and Maureen McGuinness, 352–71. 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. “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: A Companion to the Arts, edited by P. D. Acierno, 331–52. Garland, 1999.

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. “Catholic Writers.” In The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States, edited by Cathy N. Davidson and Linda Wagner-Martin, 155–57. New York: Oxford University, 1995.


Ferraro, T. J. “No forgiveness in heaven, no forgetting in hell.” American Literary History 26, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 83–109. Full Text

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.

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. “Butter-and-egg men: Response to Breitwieser (Jazz, F. Scott Fitzgerald).” American Literary History 12, no. 3 (2000): 382–85. Full Text

Ferraro, T. J. “Review of Jenny Franchot’s Roads to Rome: The Antebellum Protestant Encounter with Catholicism.” American Literature, March 1995, 148–50.


Response to Amy Hungerford's "The Literary Practice of Belief".” University of Chicago School of Divinity, June 2010.

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

Ferraro, T. J. “Contribution to MLA Roundtable in honor of AL at Seventy-Five.” American Literature, September 2005.

FERRARO, T. J. “AN INTERVIEW WITH PAGLIA,CAMILLE.” South Atlantic Quarterly, 1994.

Ferraro, T. J. “Review of RSA: Rivista di Studi Nord-Americani.” Italianamericana, 1991.

Ferraro, T. J. “Review of Alex Gibney, dir., All or Nothing at All (HBO, 4-hour biopic of Sinatra).” The Italian American Review, n.d.