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The Value of Worthless LivesWriting Italian American Immigrant Autobiographies$
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Ilaria Serra

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226788

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226788.001.0001

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Immigrant Artists

Immigrant Artists

Chapter:
(p.90) 3 Immigrant Artists
Source:
The Value of Worthless Lives
Author(s):

Ilaria Serra

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823226788.003.0004

Italian immigrants came to America to pursue an artistic dream, but they remain “immigrant workers” at heart. They strongly maintain the ethos of the artisan, with its mixture of manual labor and creativity, more than pretenses of artistic genius. They tell their stories in the quiet mode that links our autobiographies. One of them in particular who does not find success, Luigi Olari, strikes a very human note in his description of failure. Even the quite well-known Alfred Crimi, a painter, Pietro Montana, a sculptor, and Luigi Lombardi, an orchestra director, never put on airs about the position they acquired but always highlighted their struggles, being men of survival. Two of them, the actors Rocco De Russo and Emanuel Gatti, directly experience the decline of theater due to television, and their autobiographies become narratives of the end of an era more than tales of personal triumph. All of these artists started at the bottom, and they unabashedly admit that.

Keywords:   America, artistic dream, immigrant workers, autobiographies, Luigi Olari, Alfred Crimi, Pietro Montana, artisan, creativity, personal triumph

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