Ombretta Frau

Dorothy Rooke McCulloch Professor of Italian; Chair of Romance Languages and Cultures
modern Italian literature; Italian women writers; history of Italian culture; Luigi Pirandello

Ombretta Frau is the Dorothy Rooke McCulloch Professor of Italian. Her scholarly interests include nineteenth and early twentieth-century Italian public intellectuals, modern philology, and Luigi Pirandello. She has published extensively on Pirandello, Vincenzo Cerami, Aldo Palazzeschi, Jolanda, Mantea, Sfinge, Mara Antelling, Italian fascism, motherhood, internet verbal violence against women, and Italian material culture. She has a blog on the Italian Huffington Post and she is former president of the Women’s Studies Caucus of the American Association for Italian Studies. With Temple University’s Cristina Gragnani, she is the author of the critical edition of Luigi Pirandello’s Taccuino di Harvard (Mondadori, 2002) and Sottoboschi letterari. Sei case studies fra Otto e Novecento: Mara Antelling, Emma Boghen Conigliani, Evelyn, Anna Franchi, Jolanda, Flavia Steno (Firenze University Press, 2011).

Frau has taught at Boston College, Rice University, and Harvard University, where she received excellence in teaching awards. At Mount Holyoke, she teaches both language and literature courses, including courses on Children’s Literature, Travel Literature, the Short Story, Literature and Fascism; Liars, Pranksters and Jesters in Italian Theatre, and Elena Ferrante. Her classes incorporate many pedagogical tools, including film and music, and she believes in creating a relaxed and friendly classroom atmosphere that encourages communication.

Recent Campus News

Ombretta Frau, Chair and Professor of Classics and Italian, Chair of Theatre Arts Steering Committee

“Material Culture and Memory"

The Italian professor from Mount Holyoke gave two talks at University College Cork, Ireland.


New grants to Mount Holyoke and its faculty.

Mount Holyoke College and its professors received several grants and fellowships between November 2015 and March 2016.

Recent Publications

Frau, O. (2020). “Le Memorie di Collegio di Mantea: Un Cuore ribelle nella Torino Fin de Siècle”, Special issue of Il lettore di provincia, L (153), 63-78.

Frau, O. (2020). “La mia azienda:” Matilde Serao e Il Giorno. Lettere inedite [‘My company’: Matilde Serao and Il Giorno. With unpublished correspondence]. Oblio. Osservatorio Bibliografico della Letteratura Italiana Otto-Novecentesca, 36 (2019), 122-138.

Recent Honors

Invited to deliver a lecture at the University of Rome La Sapienza on December 12, 2019, titled "Un 'Cuore' in esilio. Le memorie di Mantea” [An Exiled ‘Heart’. Mantea’s memoir”].

Ombretta Frau and Sabra Thorner led a gallery talk in the Mount Holyoke Art Museum on “The Afterlives of Objects” on November 7, 2019.

Ombretta Frau and Morena Svaldi held a workshop for teachers at the NEMLA conference in Springfield on October 25, 2019. The title of the workshop was "Learn In-Context Around Campus.”