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

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

"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.