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 4:00 - 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, T. J. “Mario Puzo.” In The Reference Guide to American Literature. St. James Press, 1994.

Ferraro, T. J. “Ethnicity and the Literary Marketplace.” In The Columbia History of the American Novel, edited by Emory Ellitt et al, 380–406. Columbia UP, 1991.

Ferraro, T. J. “Whole Families Shopping at Night!.” In New Essays on White Noise, edited by Frank Lentricchia. Cambridge UP, 1991.

Boelhower, William, ed. “Avant-Garde Ethnics.” In The Future of Modernism, 1–31. Free UP of Amsterdam, 1990.

Ferraro, T. J. “Blood in the Marketplace: The Business of Family in the Godfather Narratives.” In The Invention of Ethnicity, edited by Werner Sollars, 176–207. Oxford UP, 1989.


FERRARO, T. J. “CATHOLIC LIVES CONTEMPORARY AMERICA - EDITORS NOTE.” South Atlantic Quarterly 93, no. 3 (1994): 545–46.

FERRARO, T. J. “CELINE AMERICAN GENEALOGY + 20TH-CENTURY LITERATURE.” South Atlantic Quarterly 93, no. 2 (1994): 507–11.

FERRARO, T. J. “WORKING-OURSELVES-UP IN AMERICA, YEZIERSKA,ANZIA 'BREAD GIVERS'.” South Atlantic Quarterly 89, no. 3 (1990): 547–81.