Caranfa, Angelo 1942-

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Caranfa, Angelo 1942-


Born May 24, 1942, in Rotello, Campobasso, Italy; immigrated to the United States, 1957; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Ermete U. and Filomena Caranfa. Education: Stonehill College, B.S., 1966; Boston College, M.A., 1971; University of Florence, Ph.D., 1972; Simmons College, M.L.S., 1987.


Home—Brockton, MA. E-mail—[email protected].


High school teacher in North Dartmouth, MA, 1966-69, Braintree, MA, 1969-71, and Brighton, MA, 1974-75; Newbury Junior College, Boston, MA, adjunct professor of philosophy, 1975-76; Boston State College, Boston, adjunct professor, 1976-78; Stonehill College, North Easton, MA, adjunct professor of philosophy, 1978-85; Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA, adjunct professor, 1985-87; Stonehill College, adjunct professor of philosophy, 1990-2002; author.


Machiavelli Rethought: A Critique of Strauss's Machiavelli, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1978.

(Editor, with Francis R. Gendreau) Western Heritage: Man's Encounter with Himself and the World: A Journey for Meaning, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1984.

Claudel: Beauty and Grace, Bucknell University Press (Lewisburg, PA), 1989.

Proust: The Creative Silence, Bucknell University Press (Lewisburg, PA), 1990.

Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude, Bucknell University Press (Lewisburg, PA), 1999.

Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Literature and Theology, Educational Theory, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Journal of Aesthetic Education, Educational Forum, International Journal of Art and Design Education, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Art Criticism, History of European Ideas, and Linacre Quarterly.


Angelo Caranfa's research interest is in twentieth-century French aesthetics. Claudel: Beauty and Grace discusses how the link between the subjective and objective evidence of beauty and grace are always present in twentieth-century French art and literature. Caranfa uses Claudel's understanding of beauty and grace in the discussion of seven major French authors and artists. Marie A. Malone commented in L'Esprit Createur, that Caranfa "leads the reader to experience, through Claudel's ‘theology of vision,’ the movement from poetic art to religious faith."

In Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude, Caranfa discusses the work of sculptor Camille Claudel. In the book he tries to separate Claudel's work from that of her teacher, employer, and lover, Auguste Rodin, and focus on understanding her work through the writings of Paul Claudel, her poet brother. Caranfa uses the idea of interior silence also to understand her sculptures and her creativity. J. Weidman in Choice called it "a valuable book for specialists in modern art and aesthetics."

In Proust: The Creative Silence, Caranfa attempts to come to grips with Proust's underlying search to explain through literature the meaning of the human self and of literature as an art expressing the human self. Caranfa develops his theme by contrasting Proust's thoughts with the thoughts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gabriel Marcel, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Augustine, and the art of Paul Claudel, Georges Braque, Giotto, and Renaissance painting. "Caranfa's interdisciplinary range is admirable and his enthusiasm for his subject is often contagious," noted Ben Stoltzfus in Modern Fiction Studies. "Caranfa has an impressive ability to synthesize the thinking of artists, writers, and theologians."

Caranfa once told CA: "The major purpose of my works on the aesthetic of twentieth-century French thought is to clarify the exquisite tension between thought and feeling that underlies literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, music, and even the philosophy of the time. The works proceed to compare certain creative figures with others so as to reveal their particular aesthetic tendency or sensibility. Behind this contrast lies the difference between two opposing views, both metaphysical and artistic, of silence. On the one hand, there is an understanding of silence that grants all things their creative origin as re-sourced to an infinite sea of being which is actual, but not immediately apprehensible within direct experience. On the other hand, there is an understanding of silence as originative actuality and creative origin, but as unlimited potentiality dissipating within indeterminacy toward nothingness. From the first arises the notion that the word or language carries meaning, and from the second arises a resolute ‘mutism’ incapable of expressing the paradoxes of existence. The former is the central theme of Claudel, and of Camille Claudel; the latter is the connecting thread of Proust.

"These opposing but harmonious views of silence are given visible expression in Silence and Solitude in Twentieth-Century French Aesthetics, which is in the process of being written. Like my other three works, this one also develops the theme that silence is central in our understanding of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. Similar to my past works, this book also compares certain creative figures with others so as to clarify the opposing views of silence and the ideas of the human person that flow from them. The book is organized around certain themes, and the themes are developed from the writings of the figures and from the interpretation of their works. The works will be interpreted according to the texts that elucidate the themes.

"Past and present works, however, would remain sterile if they did not provide direct benefits to the education of both students and myself. All of the articles in various periodicals reflect the pedagogical value that flows from my writings: that teaching and learning are intrinsically connected with art as the language of silence that places us on the way to self-understanding and to becoming totally and fully human. Silence must become an integral part of the curriculum if students are to complete themselves in their moral, intellectual, and spiritual life. As it must become an integral part of us as teachers.

"Ultimately, my reason for writing derives from my inner desire to instruct myself on the feelings of the heart, which we tend to destroy when we give them up to the noise of the world, but which become a source of joy and of creativity when we nourish them in our own inner solitude. Living in the silence of the thoughts and of the words or images of others is what enriches and transforms me as a person. Self-transformation is the end towards which I direct my writing.

"This is what I want to convey to aspiring writers and indeed to students. Writing must emanate from the primordial and silent word embodied in all words in order to transport the soul of the reader or listener on the way to self-transformation. Writing is not the noise of the mouth, and not the sound of our voices, says Paul Claudel, but a song of the heart and a canticle of internal joy, proclaiming and praising the ineffable, the beauty and the grace that shine in the world and in us."



British Journal of Aesthetics, winter, 1991, Suzanne Stern-Gillet, review of Claudel: Beauty and Grace, pp. 93-95.

Choice, January, 2000, J. Weidman, review of Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude, p. 916.

L'Esprit Createur, fall, 1990, Marie A. Malone, review of Claudel, pp. 82-83.

Modern Fiction Studies, summer, 1992, Ben Stoltzfus, review of Proust: The Creative Silence, pp. 524-526.

New Comparison, fall, 1990, Gentilde Faria, review of Claudel, pp. 170-171.

Romance Quarterly, fall, 1990, Andre Gabriel, review of Claudel, pp. 492-493.

Woman's Art Journal, fall, 2001, review of Camille Claudel, p. 58.