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"Heart of My Race:" Questions ofldentity in Sicilian/ American Writings

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Date Issued:
2007
Abstract/Description:
Throughout the 1900s, the sense of a distinct sicilianita-or Sicilian-nessmanifested itself in writings by Italian authors such as Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Leonardo Sciascia, Vincenzo Consolo, and Andrea Camilleri, among others. Interestingly, a parallel phenomenon has emerged in the United States in the broader field of Italian-American literature. While attempting to redefine the concept of Americanness and expand the canon of American literature so that it embraces articulations of ethnic identities, many Sicilian-American writers have turned their works into literary manifestations of their Sicilian Americanness, or, as I have called it, sicilianamericanita. In this study, I try to answer questions such as: Why and how have some Sicilian- American authors fashioned their Italian-American identity in regional terms? How did a sense of sicilianita develop in the US and turn into sicilianamericanita? And how did the above-mentioned phenomenon materialize in Italian-American literature? My examination focused on Jerre Mangione's memoirs, Rose Romano's poetry, and Ben Morreale's novels. While Mangione consistently capitalized on his regional ethnic identity mainly in order to correct some of the most unfavorable prejudices, and especially those originating from Mafia, Rose Romano writes poetry and prose dealing with issues of regional self-ascription which overlaps with contestations of traditional gender roles, heterosexual scripts, and racial categorizations. Ben Morreale's sicilianamericanita takes on intertextual aspects, creating a closely-knit net of relations with the Sicilian tradition in Italian literature. Many Sicilian-American writers, just like their Sicilian counterparts, have come to see their regional ethnic identity as a source of inspiration for the growth of a distinctive literary tradition. This study has been conceived as an initial small step towards a process of inquiry and exploration of the common ground between Italian and Italian-American literatures. Such critical endeavors and international cooperation between both fields of literary studies could bring forth a better understanding of the cultures, and also strengthen in significant ways the status of both literatures within and outside their respective national critical communities.
Title: "Heart of My Race:" Questions ofldentity in Sicilian/ American Writings.
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Name(s): Mazzucchelli, Chiara
Tamburri, Anthony Julian, Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2007
Date Issued: 2007
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 188 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Throughout the 1900s, the sense of a distinct sicilianita-or Sicilian-nessmanifested itself in writings by Italian authors such as Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Leonardo Sciascia, Vincenzo Consolo, and Andrea Camilleri, among others. Interestingly, a parallel phenomenon has emerged in the United States in the broader field of Italian-American literature. While attempting to redefine the concept of Americanness and expand the canon of American literature so that it embraces articulations of ethnic identities, many Sicilian-American writers have turned their works into literary manifestations of their Sicilian Americanness, or, as I have called it, sicilianamericanita. In this study, I try to answer questions such as: Why and how have some Sicilian- American authors fashioned their Italian-American identity in regional terms? How did a sense of sicilianita develop in the US and turn into sicilianamericanita? And how did the above-mentioned phenomenon materialize in Italian-American literature? My examination focused on Jerre Mangione's memoirs, Rose Romano's poetry, and Ben Morreale's novels. While Mangione consistently capitalized on his regional ethnic identity mainly in order to correct some of the most unfavorable prejudices, and especially those originating from Mafia, Rose Romano writes poetry and prose dealing with issues of regional self-ascription which overlaps with contestations of traditional gender roles, heterosexual scripts, and racial categorizations. Ben Morreale's sicilianamericanita takes on intertextual aspects, creating a closely-knit net of relations with the Sicilian tradition in Italian literature. Many Sicilian-American writers, just like their Sicilian counterparts, have come to see their regional ethnic identity as a source of inspiration for the growth of a distinctive literary tradition. This study has been conceived as an initial small step towards a process of inquiry and exploration of the common ground between Italian and Italian-American literatures. Such critical endeavors and international cooperation between both fields of literary studies could bring forth a better understanding of the cultures, and also strengthen in significant ways the status of both literatures within and outside their respective national critical communities.
Identifier: FA00000985 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2007.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Subject(s): Italian literature--Italy--Sicily--Criticism and interpretation
American literature--Italian American authors--Criticism and interpretation
National characteristics in literature
Influence (Literary, artistic, etc)
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00000985
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Owner Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.