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Joseph Andriano

Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., Washington State University, 1986.


Teaching and Research Areas

American literature, the fantastic in literature, fiction writing


Dr. Andriano was on the English department faculty for thirty-seven years – since August 1979, when he was hired as an Instructor with a Masters degree and A.B.D. status. In 1986 he received his Ph.D from Washington State University, after which he was promoted to Assistant Professor; then to Associate Professor in 1993, and to Professor in 1999. He was on the graduate faculty for almost thirty years and had a long and distinguished career both as a writer and as a scholar and teacher. Of his several articles, the most significant are the oft-cited “The Handmaid’s Tale as Scrabble Game,” Essays on Canadian Writing 48 (1992); and “Race and Evolution in Moby-Dick,” ATQ 10.2 (1996). He wrote two books, both of which continue to be cited:

  • Our Ladies of Darkness: Feminine Daemonology in Male Gothic Fiction (Penn State Press, 1993), reprinted in paperback by Lethe Press in 2002
  • Immortal Monster: Mythological Evolution of the Fantastic Beast in Fiction and Film (Greenwood Press, 1999)

As a result of his research, he gained a national and international reputation in the 1990s as a scholar of the fantastic in literature and film, serving for many years on the board of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA), first as a Division Head, then as Vice-President. The second book, Immortal Monster, is now often cited as a major contribution to studies on the social/cultural significance of monsters (for example by anthropologist David Gilmore in 2003, and in Caliban: The French Journal of English Studies, 2012).

The second book also led to a nomination and then a refereed invitation by Indiana State University to be the Schick lecturer for 2006. His lecture, on the significance of Moby-Dick to 21st-century culture, was later published there. He wrote his last scholarly article in 2012; since then he has devoted his energies toward the writing of fiction. He has published several short stories and has recently completed a novel which was a semi-finalist in the New Century Writer Awards Contest (New Haven, CT), and the Faulkner Pirates’ Alley contest.

In 1994, Dr. Andriano was selected by the UL Foundation as a Distinguished Professor. He was a very popular instructor, his classes usually filling up and garnering strong evaluations.  He developed many innovative graduate seminars and upper-division undergrad courses, including several cross-disciplinary Humanities courses, two of which involved mingling of the arts and sciences, with guest lecturers from Biology and Physics. One of the courses was co-taught with Dr. John Meriwether from Physics, who also gave two guest lectures as Professor Emeritus in Dr. Andriano’s Humanities course on cosmology in myth, art and science.

Dr. Andriano advised, mentored, and inspired numerous students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He directed a total of eleven M.A. theses and twenty-four Ph.D. dissertations. Several of his students went on to publish their dissertations.

He served on, and chaired, many departmental committees and several University committees, including chairing the Graduate Council and the University Appeals Committee. In recognition of his service especially on the Graduate Council, Dean Eddie Palmer asked him to be Grand Marshall of the Graduate School graduation ceremony in 2009. 

During his years at UL Lafayette, Dr. Andriano served as Assistant Department Head for five years, Graduate Coordinator for six years, and Director of Developmental English for three years. He retired in 2017.