Cunning Foxes and Haunted Ships: Italian American Folk Tales and Oral Narratives
Studies on Italian communities in the United States bring to light the wealth of cultures that crossed the Atlantic, from rites such as marriage to foodways. However, an area of less focus is the fairy and folk tale, particularly in the context of its importance as a central part of oral culture and identity in Italian communities in the United States.
These tales bring to the fore the Italian tradition of oral storytelling as well as reinvent this tradition to anchor these stories in twentieth-century America. Using a select corpus drawn from published and archival material, this paper will explore how such tales and oral narratives fared in the United States, the evolution of their transmission, survival and adaptation, and the role they played in the cultural life of Italians and Italian Americans.
Matthew Reza is a UK Civil Servant in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and works in the International Data Unit. His research has focused on Italian fantastic literature, and within Italian American Studies, he has worked on the migration of Italian oral narratives to the US during the twentieth century.
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