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Italian Immigrant Radical CultureThe Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940$
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Marcella Bencivenni

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791035

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791035.001.0001

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Italian American Literary Radicalism

Italian American Literary Radicalism

Chapter:
(p.129) 5 Italian American Literary Radicalism
Source:
Italian Immigrant Radical Culture
Author(s):

Marcella Bencivenni

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814791035.003.0006

This chapter offers a reevaluation of the Left cultural tradition in Italian Americana, bringing attention to the role of literature and cultural traditions in the making of Italian immigrant radical politics. Recovering hitherto neglected radical texts, it examines two popular literary forms: the novelettes, or short stories, and poetry. Many of these writings were the works of renowned international writers and revered Italian socialist novelists, such as Edmondo De Amicis or Leda Rafanelli Polli. But other stories were written by working-class men and women, who often used pseudonyms or did not even bother to sign their work. The plots varied, but the themes were those typical of proletarian and socialist literature—that is, a literature written for the workers, about workers, and from a left-wing perspective: narratives of political oppression and injustice, working-class life, and revolution. Italian immigrant radical stories and poems included agitators and workers as the main heroes and overt political propaganda as a constitutive part of the text.

Keywords:   Italian Americans, sovversivi, Left cultural tradition, radical texts, novelettes, poetry, political oppression, injustice, working-class

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