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[Re]creating Italian American Historiography: Astoriaand the Truth of Narrative
Rethinking History (2000)
  • Santa Casciani, John Carroll University
The Italian American image in the US has been largely shaped by media representations. Research has shown that mass media portrayals of topics like the Mafia and ethnic characters frame and package these issues, oversimplifying them and rendering a distorted view of Italian American history, culture and civilization. Movies like The Godfather have left a permanent imprint and have created a filter through which Americans 'read' Italian American culture. In order for the historiography of Italian American to reframe itself, scholars and writers must begin studying history from a dialectical perspective through which the continuity of history and sporadic moments of meaningful history lead to new creative interpretations. Vico's notion of history described in his New Science offers insights into the working of this historical dialectic. Vico postulates a history in which individual subjects identify their meaning through the understanding of their deeply embedded relationship within the culture of which they are part. The novel Astoria by Viscusi, recipient of American Book Award in 1996, addresses the creative process of [re]creating the Italian American Narrative. In undermining the simplification of The Godfather's saga, the novel aims to bring the reader close to a place where the stereotypes are produced, with a view to formulating new images and new notions of historical processes.
Publication Date
Spring 2000
Citation Information
Santa Casciani. "[Re]creating Italian American Historiography: Astoriaand the Truth of Narrative" Rethinking History Vol. 4 Iss. 1 (2000)
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