Italian-American Folklore

by Frances M. Malpezzi

Folklorists Malpezzi and Clements have produced a colorful overview of the folkways of Italian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. Following an introduction of other scholars’ efforts to collect data about Italian American folk customs, the authors present a history of Italian immigration from Europe to the eastern United States and California (which began largely around 1880). The lore of a broad cross section of Italian Americans is then analyzed through chapters on conversation, life rituals, religious days and other important events, supernatural beliefs and medicine, recreation, storytelling, performing arts, and food. Other folklore studies, such as Elizabeth Mathias and Richard Raspa’s Italian Folktales in America: The Verbal Art of an Immigrant Woman, focus on lore from one Italian person or region; the strength of this volume is its interview materials and data representing many Italian Americans. For ethnic/immigrant and folklore collections.

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