Francis X. Altomare, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

“The pursuit of truth, not of facts,” author Oakley Hall once wrote, “is the business of fiction.” A lifelong lover of literature with extensive experience in the behavioral sciences, Dr. Altomare lives by this credo, believing that an optimum university education enriched by literary study prepares students for a world filled with many different truths, many different narratives, equipping them to better ascertain truths in a world of so many fictions. To achieve this goal, Dr. Altomare’s approach in his courses fuses traditional scholarly mentorship, cutting-edge academic research methods, and a recognition that in today’s rapidly technologized world, preserving humanity’s pre-digital cultural heritages of literature and the arts are more important now than perhaps ever before.

A student of both the sciences and the humanities, Dr. Altomare’s research focuses on the intersections of science—especially the cognitive sciences and anthropology—and literatures from the medieval to the postmodern across a variety of cultural and linguistic traditions. After earning his B.S. in neuroscience and chemistry with a B.A. in medieval literature and theology from the University of Miami, Dr. Altomare was a fellow at the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Science at Florida Atlantic University, where he earned a master’s en passant in psychology before earning his M.A. in English. While concurrently working on a master’s in Cultural Anthropology at FAU, Dr. Altomare earned his Ph.D. in Literature and Criticism with a focus in Cognitive Poetics and Semiotics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation on representations of consciousness in 20th-century fiction. He has served as a lecturer and adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami, as well as a senior lecturer for nearly twenty years at Palm Beach International Academy, where he was for several years the personal ethics instructor to the children of Bill and Melinda Gates, among others.

Much of Dr. Altomare’s scholarly work combines his two primary disciplines of literature and cognitive science through a philosophical lens, and he has delivered lectures in over 30 states and 20 countries on works by authors from James Joyce to Kurt Vonnegut. A voracious writer, Dr. Altomare has published academic articles on John Milton, Robert Frost, John Updike, James Joyce, Kurt Vonnegut, and others. In addition, he has published chapters in several edited scholarly volumes as well as a Catholic spiritual warfare monograph and a cocktail compendium for the IBA. He currently has two books in press, one based on his dissertation on literary representations of consciousness in the 20th century novel and another on the influence of cultural anthropology on the work of Kurt Vonnegut, both slated for publication next year. He has also published poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction in multiple genres, though his current poetical works are mostly haikus.

In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Altomare is an avid traveler, having visited all 50 states and over 100 countries. When he is not jetsetting in search of ineffable truths, he enjoys fine cuisine, medieval reenactment, karaoke, book collecting, rare single malt scotch, antiquing, painting, and historic home renovation. He is also an accomplished oboist, organist, and vocalist with credits on over ten albums. In 2014, he was a finalist on the gameshow Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek and also has appeared on The Price is Right with Drew Carey, who also featured Dr. Altomare’s musical work on his radio show with Steven Van Zandt in 2021. Altomare enjoys musing on what he will be doing in future spare time so as not to have a surplus of spare time.