Tommasina Gabriele

Professor of Italian Studies
Italian Studies Coordinator


Phone: 508-286-3622


Ph.D., M.A., Rutgers University
A.B., Bryn Mawr College


Main Interests

20th & 21st Century Italian Literature with special focus on Dacia Maraini and Italo Calvino, and interest in the works of Maria Rosa Cutrufelli, Clara Sereni, Alba de Céspedes, Maria Messina; Italian Women’s Literature; Feminist Theory; Feminist Maternal Theory; Genders and Sexualities.


Selected Articles

“Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt: Lesbian Desire in Maria Rosa Cutrufelli’s Complice il dubbio.” Italian Culture 31.1 (March 2013): 17-27.

“An Apology for Lesbian Visibility in Italian Literary Criticism.” In “Notes and Discussions” section.  Italica 87.2 (Summer 2010):  253-171.

“Una donna in Legame profondo di Rodolfo Doni.”  Spiritualità e storia nell’opera di Rodolfo Doni.  Proceedings of February 25, 2008 conference in Florence, Italy.  Ed. Franco Zangrilli.  Florence:  Edizioni Polistampa, 2008.   79-95. (Participation by invitation only.)

“The Pregnant Nun: Suor Attanasia and the Metaphor of Arrested Maternity in Dacia Maraini” Italica 81.1 (Spring 2004): 65-80.

“Disguise, Transgression, and Defeat in Anna Banti’s Il bastardo.” In Beyond Artemisia: Female Subjectivity, History, and Culture. Eds. Daria Valentini and Paola Car¨´. Studi e testi 5. Chapel Hill, NC: Annali d’Italianistica, 2003. 31-48.

“Una poetessa di origine ciociara: Maria Luisa Spaziani” in La Ciociaria tra letteratura e cinema, ed. Franco Zangrilli (Pesaro: Metauro edizioni, 2002), 213-230.

“From Prostitution to Transsexuality: Gender Identity and Subversive Sexuality in Dacia Maraini,” MLN 117.1 (Jan. 2002): 241-256.

“Too Sweet for the Sweet: Dacia Maraini’s Il treno per Helsinki,” Rivista di studi italiani XVIII. 2 (Dec 2000): 250-59.

“Aspects of Nudity in the Decameron,” Gendered Contexts, Laura Benedetti, Julia Hairston and Silvia Ross, eds. (New York: Peter Lang, 1996).

“Literature as Education and the Near-Perfect Protagonist: Narrative Structure in The Baron in the Trees,” Stanford Italian Review XI. 1-2 (1992): 91-102. Reprinted in Twentieth Century Literature Criticism, Vol. 183 (2007):


Dacia Maraini’s Narratives of Survival(Re) Constructed (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP with The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2016.)

Italo Calvino: Eros and Language (Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson UP, 1994).

Teaching Interests

My greatest satisfaction comes from chatting in Italian with students who didn’t know a word of the language when they walked through our doors. Fluency is magical. My students, and my alum, continuously inspire me.

Recently, I have developed courses on several new topics: the intersections of food, literature and culture; transnational Italy; and Italian American history and literature. I  routinely teach all levels of Italian language and special topics in Italian literature, from its origins to the present day, in the target language. I also teach general education courses, such as First Year Seminar, and an Italian Women Writers course in English.

Research Interests

Thanks to Wheaton’s curricular legacies, I fell in love with contemporary Italian women’s literature when I arrived, and this passion has prevailed throughout my career.