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Thomas J FerraroThomas J Ferraro  
Frances Hill Fox Professor of English

Office Location: 323 Allen
Office Phone: 919-684-3718
Email Address: ferraro@duke.edu

Teaching (Fall, 2015):

  • English 184s.04, Readings in genre Synopsis
    Allen 317, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
  • English 371s.02, Studies in amer lit, wwi-wwii Synopsis
    Allen 318, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Office Hours:

M, 3-5 pm
W, 3-5 pm
Th, 3-4 pm
and by appt.


Ph.D., Yale University (Co-Winner, Field Prize for Distinguished Humanities Dissertation)

M. Phil., Yale University (with distinction)

B.A., Amherst College (summa cum laude; valedictorian)

American Literature
Modern to Contemporary
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 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 .  Of his essays: "Lorenzo's Chrism," concerns the sacred import of (the battle against) a very rare but fatal disease--adrenoleukodystrophy--given its genetic etiology, mysterious biochemistry, and metabolic havoc; "Of 'Lascivious Mysticism' and other Hibernian Matters" looks at the Protestant temptation to fin-de-siecle Catholic decadence in Harold Frederic.  And a recent essay, "Boys to Men," examines the street Catholicism of Irish-American charisma, including the untoward and unsuspected sexual chemistries, in the 1938 Cagney gangster flick, Angels with Dirty Faces.
    Prof. Ferraro's new book, Feeling Italian: the Art of Ethnicity in America (NYU, 2005), explores the Italian aesthetic seduction of the United States--from the sensational trials of murderess Maria Barbella and the eerily prescient city paintings of Joseph Stella to latter-day icons including Sinatra, Madonna, and the Corleones--yielding not the familiar tale of racial assimilation, How the Guineas Got White, but a revelatory counter-drama of ongoing ethnic enculturation, How America Gets (To Feel) Italian.  Feeling Italian is a winner of a 2006 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, for making "an outstanding contribution to American literature."

Curriculum Vitae
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1.  Feeling Italian: the Art of Ethnicity in America. New York UP, May, 2005. (Winner, 2006 American Book Award. Choice, Recommended Book.)  [abs]
  2.  Ethnic Passages: Literary Immigrants in Twentieth-Century America. U of Chicago P, 1993. (Chapter I, "Blood in the Marketplace," was originally invited for Werner Sollors, ed., The Invention of Ethnicity [Oxford UP, 1986], and has been reprinted in reference works on Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. The introduction is to be similarly reprinted in August 2008.)
  3.  Catholic Lives, Contemporary America.  Duke UP, 1997.  [abs]
  4. "Boys to Men (Salvific Masculinity in /Angels with Dirty Faces/)." Catholics in the Movies. Ed. Colleen McDannell. Oxford University Press, 2008. 59-82.  [abs] [author's comments]
  5. "'At Long Last Love'; or, Literary History in the Key of Difference." ALH [American Literary History] 15.1 (2003): 78-86.
  6. "Lorenzo's Chrism." SAQ 103.1 (Winter, 2004): 235-63.
  7. "Of 'Lascivious Mysticism' and Other Hibernian Matters." U.S. Catholic Historian 23.3 (Summer, 2005): 1-17.
  8. "Whole Families Shopping at Night!." New Essays on White Noise. Ed. Frank Lentricchia. Cambridge UP, 1991.  15-38  [author's comments]

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