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: 
M, 2:15-3:45;  and Th, 3:00-4:30; and by appointment


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. "Catholic Writers." The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States. Ed. CN Davidson and L Wagner-Martin. New York: Oxford University, 1995. 155-57.

Ferraro, TJ. "Mario Puzo." The Reference Guide to American Literature. St. James Press, 1994.

Ferraro, TJ. "Whole Families Shopping at Night!." New Essays on White Noise. Ed. F Lentricchia. Cambridge UP, 1991.

Ferraro, TJ. "Ethnicity and the Literary Marketplace." The Columbia History of the American Novel. Ed. EEE al. Columbia UP, 1991. 380-406.

"Avant-Garde Ethnics." The Future of Modernism. Ed. W Boelhower. Free UP of Amsterdam, 1990. 1-31. (Essay)

Ferraro, TJ. "Blood in the Marketplace: The Business of Family in the Godfather Narratives." The Invention of Ethnicity. Ed. W Sollars. Oxford UP, 1989. 176-207.


Ferraro, TJ. "Review of Beyond The Godfather: Italian American Writers on the Real Italian American Experience." Ed. AK Ciongoli and J Parini. Italian-Americana (January 2002). (Review)

Ferraro, TJ. ""My Way" in "Our America": Art, Ethnicity, Profession." American Literary History 12.3 (March 1, 2000): 499-522. Full Text

Ferraro, TJ. "Butter-and-Egg Men: Response to Breitwieser." American Literary History 12.3 (March 1, 2000): 382-385. Full Text

Ferraro, TJ. "Butter-and-egg men: Response to Breitwieser (Jazz, F. Scott Fitzgerald)." AMERICAN LITERARY HISTORY 12.3 (2000): 382-385. Full Text

Ferraro, TJ. "Review of Jenny Franchot’s Roads to Rome: The Antebellum Protestant Encounter with Catholicism." American Literature (March 1995): 148-50. (Review)


Ferraro, TJ. "Celine’s American Genealogy." Ed. A Kaplan and P Roussin. SAQ 93 (1994): 507-11.