Chiara Mazzucchelli, The Heart and the Island: A Critical Study of Sicilian American Literature. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2015

Eveljn Ferraro
2022 Italian Canadiana  
Sicily's island status and centuries of conquests and foreign rule have molded the identity of Sicilian people and culture in unique ways. Reflecting this diversity, Sicilian literature has long occupied a distinct place within Italian literature. Likewise, in The Heart and the Island, scholar Chiara Mazzucchelli argues that Sicilian American writers have produced a substantial body of literature that, although traditionally subsumed under the broader domain of Italian American literature,
more » ... ests "a distinct Sicilian Americanness" that she terms "sicilianamericanita." Following on the footsteps of scholars like Edvige Giunta and Donna Gabaccia, Mazzucchelli presents an ambitious "intraethnic decentering project" that by embracing diversity and regional analysis aims to move beyond homogenous constructions of Italian American identity (often centered on Southern Italians' marginality) and toward a wider exploration of the ties between Italian and Italian American literature. In the introduction, Mazzucchelli restricts the definition of Sicilian American literature to "the literature written by U.S. authors of Sicilian descent that explicitly deals with the Sicilian American experience." She thus sets out to investigate the works of four writers-Ben Morreale, Jerre Mangione, Rose Romano, and Gioia Timpanellichosen also for their diverse voices, styles, and perspectives. After examining, in the first chapter, the relevance of Sicily's islandness and history to the formation of a Sicilian identity most famously condensed in Leonardo Sciascia's notion of sicilitudine, Mazzucchelli turns to explore "sicilianamericanita" and
doi:10.33137/ic.v31i.39186 fatcat:a3ewoloilbe4ljkmb5qslv4wle