Examines the forces that have shaped Italian American writing, from the novels of John Fante to the musings of Tony Soprano.
Winner of the 2006 Pietro Di Donato and John Fante Literary Award from The Grand Lodge of the Sons of Italy, New York State
Robert Viscusi takes a comprehensive look at Italian American writing by exploring the connections between language and culture in Italian American experience and major literary texts. Italian immigrants, Viscusi argues, considered even their English to be a dialect of Italian, and therefore attempted to create an American English fully reflective of their historical, social, and cultural positions. This approach allows us to see Italian American purposes as profoundly situated in relation not only to American language and culture but also to Italian nationalist narratives in literary history as well as linguistic practice. Viscusi also situates Italian American writing within the "eccentric design" of American literature, and uses a multidisciplinary approach to read not only novels and poems, but also houses, maps, processions, videos, and other artifacts as texts.
Robert Viscusi is Professor of English and Executive Officer at The Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York. He is the author of many books, including Max Beerbohm, or, The Dandy Dante: Rereading with Mirrors and Astoria: A Novel, winner of a 1996 American Book Award.