1st Edition

The Italian American Heritage A Companion to Literature and Arts

Edited By Pellegrino A D'Acierno Copyright 1999

    First published in 1999. The many available scholarly works on Italian-Americans are perhaps of little practical help to the undergraduate or high school student who needs background information when reading contemporary fiction with Italian characters, watching films that require a familiarity with Italian Americans, or looking at works of art that can be fully appreciated only if one understands Italian culture. This basic reference work for non-specialists and students offers quick insights and essential, easy-to-grasp information on Italian-American contributions to American art, music, literature, motion pictures and cultural life. This rich legacy is examined in a collection of original essays that include portrayals of Italian characters in the films of Francis Coppola, Italian American poetry, the art of Frank Stella, the music of Frank Zappa, a survey of Italian folk customs and an analysis of the evolution of Italian-American biography. Comprising 22 lengthy essays written specifically for this volume, the book identifies what is uniquely Italian in American life and examines how Italian customs, traditions, social mores and cultural antecedents have wrought their influence on the American character. Filled with insights, observations and ethnic facts and fictions, this volume should prove to be a valuable source of information for scholars, researchers and students interested in pinpointing and examining the cultural, intellectual and social influence of Italian immigrants and their successors.

    Part I Identity, The Contradictions of Italian American Identity: An Anthropologist’s Personal View; The Genealogy of Ice; Italian Catholic in My Bones: A Conversation with Camille Paglia; On Being an Italian American Woman; Italian Americans,Today’s Immigrants, Multiculturalism and the Mark of Cain, Part II:Roots, Traditions and the Italian American World. The Italian American Traditional Life Cycle; Bread and Wine in Italian American Folk Culture; Italian American Feste; II Caso della Casa: Stories of Houses in Italian America; Stories and Storytelling, Italian and Italian American: A Storyteller’s View; Part III Writing As an Italian American; Italian American Literary History from the Discovery of America; Italian American Novelists; Italian American Women Writers; Italian American Poets: A Chronological Survey; The Evolution of Italian American Autobiography; The Italian American Coming-of-Age Novel Part IV The Italian American Presence in the Arts; Catholic Ethnicity and Modern American Arts; Sacraments: Italian American Theatrical Culture and the Dramatization of Everyday Life; Italian American Musical Culture and Its Contribution to American Music; Madonna: The Postmodern Diva As Maculate Conception; From Stella to Stella: Italian American Visual Culture and its Contribution to the Arts in America; The Italian American Culture of Scenes: Everyday Life As Spectacle— a Visual Essay; Cinema Paradiso:The Italian American Presence


    Pellegrino D'Acierno is Professor of Italian