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Numero 19

Primavera / Estate 2000 - Anno VII

enlightened Incontri: DeLillo, Leslie Fiedler, DeSalvo

enlightened Perché gli americani non votano

enlightened Scienziati e guerra fredda




“We Do Not Tie It in Twine”. I rifiuti, la storia e il peccato in Underworld di Don De Lillo – p. 4

Alessandro Portelli

In Don DeLillo’s Underworld waste and its disposal are a metaphor for a politics and ethics of “containment.” The United States as a whole, and individual characters are involved in the effort to contain forces and presences that threaten to encroach upon their physical and emotional space: the experience and memory of the cold war, the impact of public and personal history and memory, urban and emotional unrest. The main character’s effort to control these elements of disorder is contrasted with an attitude of acceptance that leads to a perception of the sacred in the marginal characters in the Bronx and Sister Edgar. The tension to contain the world in one text, and its conscious failure, assimilate Underworld to Franco Moretti’s concept of the “modern epic.” However, while the modern epic perceives fragmentation as the result of history and progress, this work takes fragmentation as default experience, so that the paranoia of global forces overwhelming the individual (the web, the market, the bomb) replaces modern irony as the basic attitude.

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Da Kennedy a Underworld. Intervista con Don De Lillo – p. 16

Daniela Daniele
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La mia prima borsa di studio: Roma 1952 – p. 20

Leslie Fiedler
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Amore, morte e altre storie. A colloquio con Leslie Fiedler – p. 24

Samuele Pardini
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Vertigo di Louise DeSalvo: vertigine della memoria – p. 33

Caterina Romeo

This article is part of a dissertation entitled Exploring the Past, Re-Writing the Present: Tradition and Innovation in Italian American Women’s Memoir. In Louise DeSalvo’s first memoir, Vertigo, looking back into memory is associated to a sense of dizziness. This seems to originate from cultural, familial, and personal reasons, which often intermingle in a sense of general discomfort. By analyzing the difficulties DeSalvo had to face in growing up an Italian American woman in New Jersey in the ’50s, with aspirations that were considered very unconventional both by community and society, the author focuses on how DeSalvo turns her sense of “vertigo” into “verse”, and how she practices memoir writing as a healing process.

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Conversazione con William D. Ehrhart e John S. Baky – p. 40

Stefano Rosso
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Testo a fronte

The World of Tomorrow / Il mondo di domani – p. 48

Pietro Di Donato
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Una lettera inedita a Giuseppe Prezzolini – p. 54

John Fante
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Pietro Di Donato e John Fante: un racconto dimenticato e una lettera inedita – p. 55

Martino Marazzi

Two rare documents dating from 1939-40 help us to focus on the interaction between first and second generation Italian American writers, and, more broadly, between Italian American and Italian culture. Pietro di Donato’s poignant The World of Tomorrow (which preceded his masterpiece Christ in Concrete) contains a proletarian reading of the highly publicized 1939 New York World’s Fair. The short story appeared significantly on one of the local magazines of the Italian American artistic community. John Fante’s letter to the then Director of Casa Italiana at Columbia, the distinguished Giuseppe Prezzolini, not only centers the issue of the loss of the Italian language among second generations, but can easily be used as a reminder of how, beyond this text, the interplay between the two cultures has left relevant traces, be they in Fante’s native Colorado or on the Italian journals where Prezzolini was a regular contributor from the U.S.

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Perché gli americani non votano? Partecipazione elettorale e stato sociale negli Stati Uniti – p. 60

Arnaldo Testi
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Consenso forzato. I Progressisti e la sfera pubblica – p. 69

Alan Dawley

Scholars who emphasize the role of discourse or communications in shaping the public sphere have not paid sufficient attention to the role of coercion in defining the boundaries of consent. In combining coercion and consent, Gramsci’s concept of “relations of force” offers a useful tool for examining the changing shape of the public sphere in the United States in the years around the Great War. The prevailing trend in the Progressive era and war years was toward expansion of the public sphere under the impact of social reform, women’s suffrage, and wartime labor mediation. At the same time, racism, immigration restriction, and wartime suppression of dissent exerted pressures in the opposite direction. What tipped the balance toward contraction of the public sphere in the postwar period was the use of force against strikers, immigrants, and radicals by elites who believed the United States was threatened by the same revolutionary forces that gripped the world from Mexico to Russia.

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Cibernetica e guerra fredda – p. 76

Leone Montagnini

Cybernetics originated as an interdisciplinary science meant to develop war-oriented inquiries on digital computers, automatic systems and neurophysiology within information, communication and control theories. During the Cold War period, it provided technical and theoretical bases for building automatic guided missiles, fire-control systems and H-bomb computer systems. As a Game theory and an automatic-control theory based on feedback it also tended to become a sort of grammar for social scientists and military experts to see and influence the URSS/USA conflict. This essay outlines this process focussing on the two major figures in the field of cybernetics research, Norbert Wiener and John von Neumann.

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NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): la nuova identità del Nordamerica – p. 85

Simone Lucatello

The essay presents an assessment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after the first six years of its existence. The origins and nature of the agreement, which went into effect on January 1, 1994, are examined in the first part of the essay, which also includes references to the international economic and political context of the Nineties. The second section focusses essentially on the historical importance and the functioning of the agreement, while in the last section a final assessment is presented, which considers particularly the areas of work, migrations and the environment.

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