Italian Folktales in America: The Verbal Art of an Immigrant Woman

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Wayne State University Press, 1988 - Literary Collections - 322 pages

In 1941, while studying folklore at Wayne University with Professor Emelyn Gardner, Bruna Todesco collected from her mother, Clementina, the twenty-two märchen and legends presented in this book. Bruna, her mother, and her father, John, immigrated to America in 1930 from their native village of Faller in the Veneto region of northern Italy.

Not just made up of the recorded texts, this book is also built on the reminiscences of that storyteller and some of her old neighbors in her birthplace, and is a record by two resourceful fieldworkers of what it takes to study memory culture. The result is a work that greatly enriches our understanding of who told (and tells) märchen to whom, why and how they are told, and, perhaps most important, under what conditions.


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Italian folktales in America: the verbal art of an immigrant woman

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Clementina Todesco, an immigrant from a northern Italian village, is the focus of this study and collection. The texts presented were collected by her daughter in the 1940s. Mathias and Raspa ... Read full review


Context and History
The Storyteller in Italy
The Storyteller in America
Informants from Faller Italy
The Village of Faller
Narratives of Personal Experience
Notes to the Text
Index of Motifs
Index of Tale Types

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About the author (1988)

Elizabeth Mathias is associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at St. John's University, Jamaica, NY. She has studied at the University of Akron (BA, 1962), Kent State University (MA, 1964), and the University of Pennsylvania (MA, 1972; Ph.D., 1974). She has published several articles on various aspects of Italian culture.

Richard Raspa has published two books and numerous articles, primarily in the field of folklore. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. He is currently associate professor in communications at Wayne State University.

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