Ilaria Serra

in The Value of Worthless Lives

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780823226788
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235032 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


This book is proof of the reversal of Giuseppe Prezzolini's 1963 conclusions about Italian immigrant autobiography and his claim that the immigrants did not want to remember their past and that they left no written word. This book is full of evidence of how ardently these people wanted their memories preserved. Italian American autobiographical material has existed all along, but its study was hampered by the fact that it did not match the heroic claims of greatness that fit with the mid-twentieth-century view of what was worthy material for an autobiography. This group of some sixty Italian Americans who tell their stories here experienced universal struggles shared by everyone, and suffered immigration traumas comparable to those that many ethnic immigrant groups have faced. In this way one can see many universal truths in these examples. These stories of Italian American lives offer local color and cultural detail that isn't provided by immigration statistics, something even more vivid and illustrative than photographs of immigrants.

Keywords: Giuseppe Prezzolini; immigrants; autobiography; Italian Americans; memories

Chapter.  781 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.