Studies in Italian American Folklore

Studies in Italian American Folklore

Studies in Italian American Folklore

Studies in Italian American Folklore

Synopsis

The first published collection of essays on the folk culture of Italian Americans and Canadians, this book attains a depth of analysis rarely attained in Italian American folklore scholarship. Italian American folklife is not evolving in a vacuum, it draws from dynamic, local and specific, as well as regional and national Italian cultural expressions.

Excerpt

Luisa Del Giudice

In commemoration of the five hundredth anniversary of the voyages of Christopher Columbus to America, the Italian section of the American Folklore Society presents this collection of essays on Italian American folklife. This is one of the first efforts to bring together various voices to interpret the folkways of this ethnic group in America. Midst the contrasting fanfare and backlash of the Columbian year, it appeared that some quieter and more thoughtful assessment of the Italian presence in this country was called for, one more in tune with the times. Further, an attempt to focus on an aspect of Italian culture little known and little appreciated--even by Americans of Italian descent themselves--seemed long overdue.

Sensitivity to issues of cultural diversity has ideally been a practice of folklorists long before it became fashionable. This openness, however, is not just directed toward other groups, but also encompasses the various voices within one's own ethnic affiliation. Italians have known diversity throughout the centuries. The evolution of myriad city states and republics (the most powerful being the Venetian, Florentine, and Papal States) and a long history of foreign occupation (from the medieval Normans and Arabs in the South, to the later Bourbons and the more recent Austrians and French in the North) have each added layers to the ancient cultural substrata of pre-Latin . . .

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