Imagining Italians

Imagining Italians : The Clash of Romance and Race in American Perceptions, 1880-1910

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Integrating history, literary criticism, and cultural studies, Imagining Italians vividly tells the story of two voyages across the Atlantic: America's cultural pilgrimage to Italy and the Italian "racial odyssey" in America. It examines how American representations of Italy, Italians, and Italian Americans engaged with national debates over immigration, race, and national identity during the period 1880-1910. Joseph P. Cosco offers a close analysis of selected works by immigrant journalists Jacob Riis and Edward Steiner and American iconographic writers Henry James and Mark Twain. Exploring their Italian depictions in journalism, photos, travel narratives, and fiction, he rediscovers the forgotten Edward Steiner and offers fresh readings of Riis's reform efforts and photography, James's The Golden Bowl and The American Scene, and Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 243 pages
  • 157.5 x 233.7 x 17.8mm | 340.2g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791457613
  • 9780791457610

Review quote

"I very much like the grouping of writers (journalists, novelists, and politicians) Cosco chose in order to highlight the intense debate over race in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America. That Cosco places lesser-known immigrant writers with well-known novelists allows the thematic concerns about race and immigration to be reinforced. Moreover, Cosco analysis of James and Twain also allows readers to see how abidingly influenced these men were by the issues of immigration and nativism. Without damning those writers for being influenced by the contemporary thought of their day, Cosco does a good job of illuminating their struggle to tell a compassionate story while holding on to Anglo-Saxon values."
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About Joseph P. Cosco

Joseph P. Cosco is Assistant Professor of English at Old Dominion University.
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