Blood, Sweat, and Pasta: Italian/American Literature
In this course we will explore the literature of the Italian/American experience. Starting from the shores of Italy, we will chart various literary odysseys from abject poverty to suburban comfort.
We will read the works of a wide-range of authors and genres, such as:
Pascal D'Angelo (Son of Italy), Leonardo Sciascia (“The Long Crossing”), John Fante (Ask The Dust and Full of Life); Mario Puzo (The Fortunate Pilgrim); Pietro di Donato (Christ in Concrete); Jerre Mangione (Mount Allegro); Helen Barolini (Umbertina), Francine Prose (Household Saints), Albert Innaurato (Gemini), and short stories by various Italian/American authors.
We will also discuss the transgression and transformation achieved through the creation of a distinct, Italian/American literary tradition. Foregrounding our conversation in the sociopolitical realities of late eighteenth century Italy and the United States, we will work collectively to maintain the presence of Italian/American contributions within the Academy. As a foil to the literary works that we discuss, we will consider the proliferation of Italian/American stereotypes in popular American culture of ruthless gangsters, lovable buffoons, irresistible lovers, and claustrophobic families.