The Orphanage

Encounters in Transnational Space

Authored by: Robert Viscusi

The Routledge History of Italian Americans

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415835831
eBook ISBN: 9780203501856
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203501856.ch38

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Abstract

Relations between Italians and Italian Americans are often uncomfortable. Italians find Italian Americans embarrassing—illbred cafoni with country manners and loud voices. The arriviste who returns to Italy in the guise of a freespending braggart who puts his relatives to shame has a name in Italian: lo zio Americano (the American uncle). Italian Americans find Italians equally embarrassing, though for different reasons: Italians are too dressy and too lofty by half. Their politics appear both incomprehensible and unrespectable. Think Silvio Berlusconi. Italy’s behavior in the Second World War inspired neither trust nor admiration. Think Benito Mussolini.

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