Leaving Little Italy

Essaying Italian American Culture

By Fred L. Gardaphé

Subjects: Ethnicity
Series: SUNY series in Italian/American Culture
Paperback : 9780791459188, 215 pages, November 2003
Hardcover : 9780791459171, 215 pages, November 2003

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Table of contents



Part I. A Historical Survey

1. The Southern Answer: Making Little Italys

2. Inventing Italian America

3. Mythologies of Italian America: From Little Italys to Suburbs

Part II. Thematic Essays

4. Left Out: Three Italian American Writers of the 1930s

5. The Consequences of Class in Italian American Culture

6. Variations of Italian American Women's Autobiography

7. Criticism as Autobiography

8. We Weren't Always White: Race and Ethnicity in Italian American Literature

9. Linguine and Lust: Notes on Food and Sex in Italian American Culture

Conclusion: Leaving Little Italy: Legacies Real and Imagined


Works Cited


Provides an overview of the past, present, and future of Italian American culture.


Leaving Little Italy explores the various forces that have shaped and continue to mold Italian American culture. Early chapters offer a historical survey of major developments in Italian American culture, from the early mass immigration period to the present day, situating these developments within the larger framework of American culture as a whole. Subsequent chapters examine particular works of Italian American literature and film from a variety of perspectives, including literary history, gender, social class, autobiography, and race. Paying particular attention to how the individual artist's personality has intersected with community in the shaping of Italian American culture, the book reveals how and why Italian America was invented and why Little Italys must ultimately disappear.

Fred L. Gardaphe directs the American and Italian/American Studies Programs at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is the author and editor of many books, including Italian Signs, American Streets: The Evolution of Italian American Narrative; Dagoes Read: Tradition and the Italian/American Writer; and From the Margin: Writings in Italian Americana.