Thomas Graff


Thomas Graff

M.A., Italian Studies

Research Interests

I am a second year M.A. in Italian Studies. I graduated from Notre Dame in 2014, with undergraduate Majors in Italian Studies and in Philosophy & Theology (Thesis: “A Grammar of Certainty: Wittgenstein and Newman on Rationality & Religious Belief”).
My current research interests pursue the relationship between religion and literature as performed in the poetry of Dante Alighieri and the writings of Primo Levi. In particular, I focus on how each respective writer – one a medieval Christian and exiled poet, the other an atheistic Jewish chemist and Auschwitz survivor – embodies questions concerning divinity through literary form(s). Specifically, in Dante’s Commedia, my interests include the relationship between salvation, prayer, and fiction; the centrality of Mary and the feminine to his theological vision of Heaven and of narrative; the question of Virgil and limbo as viewed through the lenses of salvation history, predestination, and the rhetoric of hope. In Primo Levi’s works, my interests include Levi’s atheism and its relationship to ethics and to the rejection of idolatry; the relationship between self, text, and scripture as constituted through literary and biblical memory, especially the Book of Job; the negotiation of silence, and its implication for the nature of suffering, communication, and wonder.
I also enjoy and am daily grateful for my opportunity to teach Italian language & culture to undergraduates of Our Lady’s university.

Contact Information

343 O'Shaughnessy Hall

Mailing Address:

University of Notre Dame
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
343 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556