Fred L. Gardaphe
Bibliographic in nature, this chapter first provides a general cultural backdrop against which the "new immigrant" writing can be viewed in relation to the Italian/American culture established earlier. Against this backdrop comes a closer look at a few selected writers who, while they cannot accept the burden of representing the many cultures of the new Italian immigration, provide insights into the subjects and themes that concern many of the Italian/American writers who immigrated to American since 1945.
Between 1920 and 1950, the number of Italians immigrating to the United States diminished each year. No longer were Italians leaving their homeland by the hundreds of thousands. Two reasons are usually given for this: during this period, living conditions in Italy had improved, and the American government had placed limits on the numbers of people who could immigrate to America from any one country. However, the end of World War II brought a new wave of Italian immigration, and these immigrants changed the definition of Italian America. For the children and grandchildren of the first major wave of Italian immigration, these new arrivals came as the enemy the Americans had defeated, the people America had liberated. Upon their arrival the immigrants after World 'War II found themselves alienated not only from American culture but also from the Italian/American culture that had sprung up since the major immigra-