Families, Lovers, and Their Letters: Italian Postwar Migration to Canada

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Univ. of Manitoba Press, 2010 - History - 192 pages
Families, Lovers, and their Letters takes us into the passionate hearts and minds of ordinary people caught in the heartbreak of transatlantic migration. It examines the experiences of Italian migrants to Canada and their loved ones left behind in Italy following the Second World War, when the largest migration of Italians to Canada took place. In a micro-analysis of 400 private letters, including three collections that incorporate letters from both sides of the Atlantic, Sonia Cancian provides new evidence on the bidirectional flow of communication during migration. She analyzes how kinship networks functioned as a means of support and control through the flow of news, objects, and persons; how gender roles in productive and reproductive spheres were reinforced as a means of coping with separation; and how the emotional impact of both temporary and permanent separation was expressed during the migration process. Cancian also examines the love letter as a specific form of epistolary exchange, a first in Italian immigrant historiography, revealing the powerful effect that romantic love had on the migration experience.
 

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Contents

It was like seeing you here
3
Excuse the errors Im writing at night by oil lamp Postwar Italian Migrants and their Letters
21
Even though distance has now kept us apart Kinship Across Networks
41
My dear you will have nothing else to do but Gender Relations and Dynamics
71
My dearest love Emotions at a Distance
105
Conclusion
145
Notes
151
Bibliography
172
Index
187
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About the author (2010)

Sonia Cancian is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She lives in Montreal.

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