The Italian American Heritage
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.
- 1999 George J. Leonard
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