Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943

Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943

Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943

Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943

Synopsis

The highly-anticipated first English-language edition of the monumental critical anthology of writings from the golden age of the Italian disapora in America is now available. To appreciate the life of the Italian immigrant enclave from the great heart of the Italian migration to its settlement in America requires that one come to know how these immigrants saw their communities as colonies of the mother country. Edited with extraordinary skill, Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943 brings to an English-speaking audience a definitive collection of classic writings on, about, and from the formative years of the Italian-American experience.Originally published in Italian, this landmark collection of translated writings establishes a rich, diverse, and mature sense of Italian-American life by allowing readers to see American society through the eyes of Italian-speaking immigrants. Filled with the voices from the first generation of Italian-American life, the book presents a unique treasury of long-inaccessible writing that embodies a literary canon for Italian-American culture - poetry, drama, journalism, political advocacy, history, memoir, biography, and story - the greater part of which has never before been translated.Italoamericana introduces a new generation of readers to the "Black Hand" and the organized crime of the 1920s, the incredible "pulp" novels by Bernardino Ciambelli, Paolo Pallavicini, Italo Stanco, Corrado Altavilla, the exhilarating "macchiette" by Eduardo Migliaccio (Farfariello) and Tony Ferrazzano, the comedies by Giovanni De Rosalia, Riccardo Cordiferro's dramas and poems, the poetry of Fanny Vanzi-Mussini and Eduardo Migliaccio.Edited by a leading journalist and scholar, Italoamericana introduces an important but little-known, largely inaccessible Italian-language literary heritage that defined the Italian-American experience. Organized into five sections - "Annals of the Great Exodus," "Colonial Chronicles," "On Stage(and Off-Stage)," "Anarchists, Socialist, Fascists, Anti-Fascists," and "Apocalyptic Integrated / Integrated Apocalyptic Intellectuals" - the volume distinguishes a literary, cultural, and intellectual history that engages the reader in all sorts of archaeological and genealogical work.

Excerpt

This volume is dedicated to the period of the Great Emigration of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and therefore to the experience of the Little Italies, the Italian ghettoes of America that were its first and most glaring outcome. This volume follows upon my exploration, begun four years ago, of the first literary traces left by the Italians in the United States and completes what might be considered its most important—and probably its least known—phase. Indeed, this period includes the main body of the literary works springing directly from America’s Little Italies. Literary people in Italy systematically ignored—if not openly condemned— this production, calling it anachronistic, amateurish, and unbearably “wild.” But these works represent the site where the emigrants’ native culture was contaminated by American culture, even if at a generally popular or only partially cultured level. the result is an unforeseeably new universe. These works also represent a moment of passage or, to put it in a better way, the necessary link between the experience of the fathers who came to America armed only with their cultural baggage from home, and that of their children who, merely a generation or two later, would recount their moving saga directly in English.

The period examined here goes from 1880, the conventional date of the beginning of the transoceanic Great Emigration, to that traumatic and definitive divide, World War II. During the 1940s, the experience of the first immigrant generation came to a close precisely because of the political alignments imposed by the war. By then this generation’s writers had given their best. Their contribution is the

1. Francesco Durante, Italoamericana: storia della letteratura degli italiani negli Stati Uniti (Milan: Mondadori, 2001).

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