Andrea Capra

Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and French and Italian; Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows

Andrea Capra is a literary scholar who received his Ph.D. in Italian from Stanford University. His work focuses on the 19th through the 21st century, drawing on comparative literature, philosophy, and intellectual history. Capra’s current book project, “Deforming Modernity: The Experience of Horror in Italian Literature,” analyzes the aesthetics of horror beyond the horror genre, and develops a phenomenology of this experience that centers on mundane circumstances such as illness, poverty, or warfare. In dialogue with works from statistics, history, philosophy, and sociology that study modernity’s promise to minimize risk and maximize safety and individual agency, his project frames horror as the collapse of this promise into a life.

Capra also researches how storytelling may give an impression of inevitability and self-evidence to modernity’s promises of control. In il verri and Angelaki, he has published on the topic in relation to artificial intelligence and computational technologies more generally. Capra works on political topics as well, with a forthcoming chapter on left-wing essayism for The Cambridge History of the American Essay, and a journalistic essay on the use of blogs and podcasts by California-based intellectuals connected with the entrepreneur Peter Thiel for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

At Stanford University, Capra has taught classes on literary theory and comparative literature, as well as Italian language and literature. At Princeton, he will teach “What is horror?” in fall 2022, a freshman seminar aimed at exploring today’s cultural, artistic, and existential relevance of horror. In spring 2023, he plans to teach a class on the Italian weird in literature, cinema, and visual arts.

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