Alessandro Carrera

Alessandro Carrera

Professor; Director of Italian Studies; Graduate Director, World Cultures & Literatures M.A.

611 Agnes Arnold Hall
Phone: (713) 743-3069
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Education | Teaching | Research Interests | Selected Publications | Affiliations | Links |

Alessandro Carrera was born in Lodi, Italy, and graduated in Philosophy at the Università degli Studi of Milan with a dissertation on poetry and music in Arnold Schönberg. From 1975 to 1982 he was a music critic, a songwriter, and worked in the Milanese musical milieu. From 1982 to 1987 he worked an executive editor of scientific magazines and pursued scholarly and creative interests. In 1987 he came to the United States as a Lettore d’italiano, a teaching position sponsored by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In that capacity he taught Italian Language and Literature at the University of Houston (1987-1991), McMaster University (1992-1994) and New York University (1995-2001). He also taught graduate courses as a Visiting Professor in Italian Literature (Columbia, CUNY, SUNY), Comparative Literature (Rutgers), and Aesthetics (New School University). In 2001, at the expiration of his mandate with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the University of Houston hired him as Director of Italian Studies. He is now Full Professor and Graduate Director of World Cultures and Literatures. In addition to his scholarly and creative books, Carrera has published several edited volumes in Italy and the U.S., the latest ones being Massimo Cacciari The Unpolitical: For a Radical Critique of Political Reason (New York: Fordham UP, 2009) and Italian Critical Theory ("Annali d'Italianistica" 29, 2011, Monographic Issue). He has translated into Italian three novels of Graham Greene (The Third Man, The Quiet American, The Honorary Consul) and the songs and prose of Bob Dylan (Lyrics, Tarantula, Chronicles Vol. 1). Carrera has been the recipient of the Montale Prize for Poetry in 1993, the Loria Prize for short fiction in 1998, and the Bertolucci Prize for Literary Criticism in 2006.


Laurea in Filosofia, Università degli Studi, Milan, Italy, 1980.

Research Interests

  • 18th century-21st century Italian Literature,
  • Comparative Literature
  • Italian and Continental Philosophy
  • Literary Theory
  • Music
  • Aesthetics Cultural Studies with Emphasis on Popular Music

Selected Publications


  • La distanza del cielo. Leopardi e lo spazio dell'ispirazione (Milan: Medusa, 2011)
  • La voce di Bob Dylan. Una spiegazione dell'America. New expanded edition (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2011)
  • La consistenza della luce. Il pensiero della natura da Goethe a Calvino (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2010)
  • Canzoni d’amore e misantropia (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2008)
  • L’America al bivio della democrazia (Rome: Vertigo, 2008)
  • La consistenza del passato. Nietzsche Heidegger Severino (Milan: Medusa, 2007)
  • I poeti sono impossibili. Come fare il poeta senza diventare insopportabile (Rome: Il Filo, 2005)
  • Lo spazio materno dell’ispirazione. Agostino, Blanchot, Celan, Zanzotto (Fiesole: Cadmo, 2004)
  • La voce di Bob Dylan. Una spiegazione dell’America (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2001)
  • Il principe e il giurista. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa e Salvatore Satta (Rome: Pieraldo, 2001)
  • L'esperienza dell'istante. Metafisica, tempo, scrittura (Milan: Lanfranchi, 1995)
  • Musica e pubblico giovanile. L'evoluzione del gusto dagli anni Sessanta ad oggi (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1980)


  • Librofilia (Milan: Cairo, 2010)
  • Skyline (Lecce: Manni, 2009)
  • La vita meravigliosa dei laureati in lettere (Palermo: Sellerio, 2002)
  • A che punto è il Giudizio Universale (Faenza: Mobydick, 1999)
  • La torre e la pianura (Udine: Campanotto, 1994)


  • Poesie per paraurti (Faenza: Mobydick, 2012)
  • La stella del mattino e della sera (Rome: Il Filo, 2006)
  • Lode all'isterica e altre dichiarazioni d'amore (Faenza: Mobydick, 2000)
  • L’amore del secolo / Love of the Century (Bologna: Book, 2000)
  • La sposa perfetta/The Perfect Bride (Bologna: Book, 1997)
  • La ricerca della maturità (Udine: Campanotto, 1992)
  • La resurrezione delle cose (Milan: Ceratti, 1988)

Selected Articles in English

  • “The Consistency of Nothingness: Leopardi’s Struggle with ‘solido nulla’.” RISL (RivistaInternazionale di Studi Leopardiani) 8 (2012): 69-88.
  • “Franca Ghitti: Nailing the Page.” In Franca Ghitti, The Grammar of Nails – Opere-Works 1963-2010 (New York: OK Harris Works of Art, 2010), 8-23.
  • Schönberg and Petrarca – Petrarch Project, Fall 2009
  • "Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837),” Literary Encyclopedia, November 7, 2009;
  • “Oh, the Streets of Rome: Dylan in Italy,” in Highway 61 Revisited: Bob Dylan from Minnesota to the World. Ed. by Colleen J. Sheehy and Thomas Swiss (Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota P., 2009), pp. 84-105.
  • “The Rise and Fall of Reality: Socrates, Virtual Reality, and the Birth of Philosophy from the ‘Spirit of Writing’,” in Between Philosophy and Poetry: Writing, Rhythm, History. Ed. by Massimo Verdicchio and Robert Burch (New York-London: Continuum, 2002), pp. 27-39.
  • “Blanchot’s Gaze and Orpheus’s Singing: Seeing and Listening in Poetic Inspiration,” in Panorama: Philosophies of the Visible. Ed. by Wilhelm S. Wurzer (London-New York: Continuum, 2002), pp. 45-54.
  • "Folk Music and Popular Song from the Nineteenth Century to the 1990s," in The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture. Ed. by Zigmunt Baranski and Rebecca West (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2001), pp. 325-335.
  • "Consequences of Unlimited Semiosis: Carlo Sini's Metaphysics of the Sign and Semiotical Hermeneutics," in Cultural Semiosis: Tracing the Signifier. Edited by Hugh J. Silverman (New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 48-62.
  • "Frail Identities along the Canadian Shield." Differentia, 6-7, Spring-Autumn 1994, pp. 283-296.
  • "Toward a Post-Democratic Society. On the Conflict between Ethnicity and Democracy," RLA Romance Languages Annual 1991, III. Ed. by Jeanette Beer, Charles Ganelin and Anthony J. Tamburri (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue Research Foundation, 1992), pp. 175-181.
  • "What Happened to Being? On Hermeneutics and Unlimited Semiosis in Carlo Sini and Gianni Vattimo," RLA (Romance Languages Annual) 1989, I. Ed. by Ben Lawton and Anthony J. Tamburri (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue Research Foundation, 1990), pp. 94-97.