Volume XIV No. 2 Summer 2016

Table of Contents

  • Letter from the Editor123
  • Notes on Contributors127
    Articles
  • Il Cittadino on Fascism: The Response of the Greater Youngstown, OH Italian Americana Community to Mussolini’s Rise to Power/
    Ryan Antonucci
    133
  • Fictionalizing Carlo Tresca: Jerre Mangione’s Night Search/
    Francesca de Lucia
    143
  • Dangers in Imagining Italy and Italians: John Fante’s Fantasy and Films/
    Dennis Barone
    151
    Poetry
  • Featured Poet Paul Mariani, Essay:
    The Beloved Ghosts of Compiano
    169
    • Work172
    • Pieta173
    • Pantoum for East Fifty First Street174
  • Thomasville Motel, Condemned/Gerry LaFemina176
  • Flowing Up/Joanna Clapps Herman177
  • Schoolchildren/James Penha178
  • My Grandfather, the Christ/Laurette Viteritti-Folk179
  • Words for Everything/Phyllis Capello180
  • Orthopedic Shoes and the Devil beneath St. Michael/Peter Covino181
  • After Travel/April Lindner182
  • The Sicilian Sewing School/Marisa Frasca183
  • The Still Pilgrim Considers Sicily/Angela Alaimo O’Donnell184
  • What We Left Behind/Joan Mazza185
    Fiction
  • Bella Vista Internment/Olivia Kate Cerrone189
    Creative Non-fiction
  • Nonni/Elizabeth Jaeger197
    Reviews
  • Fiabe, Novelle, e Racconti Popolari Sicciliani edited by Giuseppe Pire
    (John Russo)
    205
  • Merchant Writers: Florentine Memoirs from the Middle Ages and Renaissance by Vittore Branca
    (Joseph M. Parent)
    209
  • Abraham Lincoln. Un dramma americano by Tiziano Bonazzi
    (Arnaldo Testi)
    210
  • Anna Maria Ortese. Celestial Geographies by Gian Maria Annovi & Flora Ghezzo
    (Maria Galli Stampino)
    211
  • L is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir by Annie Rachele Lanzillotto
    (Kathleen Zamboni McCormick)
    213
  • Encountering Ellis Island: How European Immigrants Entered America by Ronald H. Bayor
    (Micahel J. Rosa)
    218
  • Sport and the Shaping of Italian American Identity by Gerald R. Gems
    (Rolando Vitale)
    219
  • The Life of the World to Come by Joseph Bathanti
    (Andrea Gazzoni)
    221
  • Logos by Gil Fagiani
    (Pamela Mansutti)
    222
  • Dodging Satan. My Irish/Italian, Sometimes Awesome, but Mostly Creepy, Childhood by Kathleen Zamboni McCormick
    (Maria Galli Stampino)
    224
  • Cooking with the Muse by Vincent A. Lapomarda
    (John Paul Russo)
    226
  • The Italians by John Hooper
    (John Paul Russo)
    227
  • Dead Reckoning: Transatlantic Passages on Europe & America by Andrei Guruianu & Anthony Di Renzo
    (John Paul Russo)
    228
    Letter from the Editor
    Carla A. Simonini

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Summer 2016 issue of Italian Americana! This issue is the second to be published at Youngstown State University (YSU) in Youngstown, OH, thus bringing to a conclusion the journal’s first full publishing cycle at its new editorial home. In keeping with our mission of publishing innovative critical and creative works aimed at exploring the Italian experience in America from multiple perspectives, the editorial team is pleased to bring you in this edition a trio of scholarly articles, a strong poetry section, new works of fiction and memoir, and a diverse book review section examining works ranging from fairy tales to political biography.

Our scholarly articles include an excerpt from a larger research project that Ryan Antonucci, a graduate student in American history at the University of South Carolina, conducted while preparing his master’s thesis. Utilizing primary sources—most notably the archives of Il Cittadino Italo-Americano, an influential Italian-language newspaper widely circulated in northeastern Ohio during the first four decades of the twentieth century—his work sheds new light on the how the political values of Italian Americans evolved as they witnessed Mussolini’s rise to power in the decades proceeding Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany. Our second article by Francesca de Lucia similarly explores issues related to the repercussions of Fascism and the Second World War on Italian American communities, in this case as evidenced in literature. Focusing on Jerre Mangione’s novel Night Search (1965), she analyzes “the internal lacerations wrought by Fascism” that underscore and complicate the protagonist’s quest to understand and accept his ethnic heritage. Key to this process is the relationship the protagonist establishes with a politically radical and vehemently anti-fascist Italian immigrant, a relationship that, de Lucia argues, closely parallels the role the Italian immigrant anarchist Carlo Tresca played in Mangione’s own life. Finally, our third article by Dennis Barone examines a screenplay credited to John Fante in the 1940s alongside of a memoir published by Joseph Luzzi in 2014, both of which, he argues, show evidence of the authors having internalized the pervasive negative imagery associated with southern Italy, to the detriment of constructing a more equilibrated sense of Italian American identity for themselves and for their mainstream American audiences.

The poetry review team, led by editor Maria Terrone, has once again chosen a fine selection of poems from a diverse group of poets. Featured poet Paul Mariani headlines the section with three poems, and an essay, which opens with his recollections of his nonno and nonna and their emigration from Compiano, in the region of Parma, Italy, to New York’s East Side some 120 years ago. Oh how we Italian Americans love our grandparents! The theme of how the Italian American sense of self so often rests in the relationship we have with the generation that most closely links us to our immigrant past is echoed in our featured memoir by Elizabeth Jaeger, aptly titled Nonni. To round out our section of creative works in prose for this issue we have elected to include a short story, Bella Vista Internment, written by Olivia Kate Cerrone, which links thematically with the subject explored from an historical and critical literary perspective in Antonucci and de Lucia’s articles. Set in a World War II internment camp, Cerrone’s story centers on the frustrations of an Italian American young man who clings to the draft card he received just before his family was sentenced to forced exiled. The editorial team felt that the synergy created between the scholarly works and Cerrone’s fiction exemplified Italian Americana founder Richard Gambino’s assertion that “literature puts meat on the bones of history.”

Finally, our “Book Review” section offers a breadth and depth of coverage of works in various genres. The books reviewed in this issue include a new edition of Giuseppe Pitrè’s collection of Sicilian folk and fairy tales, an Abraham Lincoln biography published by an Italian scholar, explorations of Italian American identity through memoir and history, a novel, and a poetry collection, among others.

I am pleased to be able to bring you another edition of Italian Americana and hope that this issue encourages our readers to recommend the journal to others. Our priority for the 2017 fiscal year is to build our subscriber base in order to support well into the future the continued publication of scholarly and creative works dedicated to the Italian experience in the New World. In the US the critical study of an ethnic group, especially at the university level, provides a forum for recognizing and validating the unique contributions that the group has made and continues to make to American culture. Great strides have been made to ensure that diverse perspectives and voices inform the academic curriculum, and certainly Italian American studies deserves its rightful place in multicultural discourse. Through your support for Italian Americana we can work to provide learning opportunities that are relevant, meaningful and ultimately affirming of Italian-American culture and identity.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the members of the editorial team, John Paul Russo, Christine Palamidessi Moore and Maria Terrone, and the members of the advisory board for their dedication and contributions to the Summer 2016 issue. I would like to once again also thank my chair, Dr. John Sarkissian, who has continued to provide me with the necessary resources to publish the journal, as well as lend his own expertise to the editorial process. Special thanks, however, are reserved for Tom Slagle, who worked diligently as my editorial assistant, copy editor, layout artist, correspondent, and just about anything else I asked him to do. This issue would NEVER have made it to press on time were it not for his efforts.

For up-dates and information on Italian Americana please consult our new website: http://italianamericana.ysu.edu/

Sincerely,

Carla A. Simonini

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