Dagoes Read Tradition And The Italian American Writer

Dagoes Read Tradition And The Italian American Writer

Italian American literature dates back to the early 1900s. Initially, the texts described life in Italy and the immigrant experience in America. In the 1930s, Italian American writers began exploring their cultural heritage, often using dialect as a tool, to give voice to their ethnicities. Today, Italian American literature remains a thriving genre and has been embraced by mainstream America. It has also had a significant impact on American culture, as it has often explored the complexities of identity and the immigrant experience in the melting pot that is American society.

History of Italian American Literature

The first Italian American literature emerged in the early 1900s, with writers such as Pietro Di Donato, who described the harsh working conditions of Italian American laborers. As the years passed, the literature evolved, and Italian Americans began to explore their cultural heritage in their writings. John Fante, for example, used his experiences as a first-generation immigrant to explore issues of identity and belonging in his novel Wait Until Spring, Bandini.

In the 1950s, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, who is the founder of the literary journal, Dagoes Read, began publishing works by Italian American writers. This publication provided a venue for writers to express their cultural identity in their writings. In doing so, it created a space for Italian American writers to explore their cultural heritage and contribute to the larger literary world.

Use of Dialect in Writing

Dialect has played an essential role in the development of Italian American literature. It has been used as a tool to accurately reflect the speech patterns of Italian Americans. This use of dialect is evident in the works of writers such as John Fante, who seeks to capture the rhythm and cadence of the Italian American voice.

Dialect has also been used to give a voice to the struggles of Italian Americans. It is a way for writers to subvert the dominant culture by using language as a means of asserting their cultural identity. This subversive use of dialect is prevalent in works such as the writings of Mario Puzo, whose book The Godfather explores the intersections between Italian American culture and organized crime.

Influence of Tradition and Culture

Italian American writers' tradition and culture have had a significant influence on their writings. Italian American literature often reflects the complexities of the immigrant experience. The issues of identity, belonging, and assimilation often arise in these works. Many Italian American writers explore their cultural heritage, family dynamics, and traditions in their texts.

For example, Tony Ardizzone’s novel In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu explores the relationship between a young Italian American man and his grandfather and the struggles they face in navigating cultural differences. Similarly, Francesca Lia Block's The Rose and the Beast explores themes of identity, love, and self-discovery through the lens of Italian American tradition.

Impact on American Culture

Italian American literature has had a profound impact on American culture. It has been instrumental in shaping mainstream America's perception of Italian Americans and providing an opportunity for Italian American voices to be heard.

For instance, the works of Mario Puzo, such as The Godfather, have had an immense influence on popular culture. The book, which explores Italian American loyalty, family values, and the complexity of organized crime, has been adapted into an iconic film franchise. The Godfather has helped shape American perceptions of Italian American culture, making it a recognized presence in American literature and culture.

Furthermore, Italian American writers have become critical agents in chronicling their cultural heritage and sharing it with a broader audience. In doing so, they have contributed to a richer, more diverse American literary tradition, providing a unique perspective on the immigrant experience and life in America.


In conclusion, Dagoes Read Tradition And The Italian American Writer reflect the immigrant experience in early American literature and evolved into an exploration of the complexities of identity, belonging, and cultural heritage. Italian American writers have used dialect as a tool to accurately represent the Italian American speech and subvert dominant cultural norms. Italian American literature has had a significant impact on American culture, providing a venue for immigrant voices to be heard, and contributing to a more diverse and robust American literary tradition. As we continue to explore the complexities of the immigrant experience, the Italian American writers' contributions will remain essential in shaping America's literary and cultural landscape.

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