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About Mary Ann Carolan

Mary Ann McDonald Carolan is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale University Graduate School. She received her Ph.D. in Italian Language and Literature with a dissertation entitled “Power and Language in Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi.” After completing her doctoral work, Prof. Carolan taught at Wesleyan University and Yale University before joining the Fairfield faculty in 1997.

At Fairfield Prof. Carolan directs the Italian Studies program, established in 1998, and is Professor of Modern Languages & Literatures. She teaches courses on all aspects of Italian culture, including:
  • Literature courses on Dante and the Italian novella
  • Film courses entitled Italian Cinema, Contemporary Italian Culture, and Visions of Italy and America in Film
  • Interdisciplinary courses such as Rome in the Cultural Imagination and The Italian American Experience

She has taught in the Honors Program, the Ignatian Residential College Program, the Catholic Studies program as well as in the graduate program in American Studies.

Prof. Carolan has published articles on Italian authors Dante Alighieri, Elsa Morante, Grazia DeLedda, and Alessandro Manzoni as well as on film directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Sergio Leone, Ettore Scola, Ferzan Ozpetek, and Nico Cirasola. She has also written about the role of women in Italian American comedies such as Moonstruck, My Cousin Vinny, and Married to the Mob. In addtion, she has published on the teaching of language and literature in Italian Studies curricula.  Her work has appeared in Modern Language Notes, ADFL BulletinLiterature Interpretation Theory, Rivista di studi italiani, Romance Languages Annual, Quaderni d'italianistic, and Lettere aperte.

Prof. Carolan's book, The Transatlantic Gaze:  Italian Cinema, American Film (State University Press of New York, 2014), documents the sustained and profound artistic impact of Italian cinema upon filmmakers in the United States from the postwar period to the new millennium.  This analysis acknowledges the influence of Italian directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Vittorio DeSica, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, and Roberto Rossellini on the transformations and innovations of genres such as neorealism, comedy, western, and art film in the works of American directors Woody Allen, Lee Daniels, Brian DePalma, Neil LaBute, Spike Lee, and Quentin Tarantino.  Her current book-length project, Orienting Italy:  China through the Lens of Italian Filmmakers, examines the ways in which Italian directors have employed documentary, historical fiction, and fictional narratives to represent China and its people both at home and abroad in Italy.

A member of the Modern Languages Association, the American Association of Teachers of Italian and the American Association of Italian Studies, Prof. Carolan regularly presents papers at universities and conferences in the United States and in Europe.


Present Professor of Modern Languages & Literature, Fairfield University

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Contact Information

o: Canisius Hall Rm 216
p: 203-254-4000 x2134

Articles (2)

Book contributions (5)

Book reviews (2)

Books (1)