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The Italian American Heritage: A Companion to Literature and the Arts. Edited by Pellegrino D'Acierno. New York & London: Garland Publishing Co., 1999. 789 pp. $100.00.
Arguably, the most significant change in immigration and ethnic studies over the past twenty years has been the decline of social historical methods and the rise of cultural studies. Reflecting recent developments, contributors to this volume include one cultural critic (Camille Paglia), five artists and authors who work in a variety of genres, ten academics in literature and language and Italian-American studies program--and one historian. Essays focus on a variety of topics on Italian-American identity, traditions, writing, and the arts. The volume also offers a chronology of the Italian-American experience, 1492--1998, and a cultural lexicon that identifies key terms ("donna seria"; "padrone"; "mafia") in Italian-American culture.
According to general editor George J. Leonard, the purpose of the volume (which …