May 14, 2014
Francesco Durante is a journalist and Professor of Literature at the University of Suor Orsola Benincasa. Robert Viscusi, Ph.D., is Professor of English and executive officer of the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities at Brooklyn College, president of the Italian American Writers Association, novelist, critic and scholar. Between the two of them, they have quite a firm handle on Italian-American literature and culture. Durante curated and edited ITALOAMERICANA, a definitive collection of classic writings on, about and from the formative years of the Italian-American experience; Viscusi edited the American edition, which is now available. In this interview with Bookreporter.com, the two men discuss the limitations of Gay Talese’s 1993 essay “Where are the Italian-American Writers?”, why newspapers were vital to literary culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and how sometimes vital pieces of history can get lost.