Personal EffectsEssays on Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo

Personal EffectsEssays on Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo

Nancy Caronia and Edvige Giunta

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780823262274

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Abstract

Personal Effects: Essays on Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo is the first scholarly book on an Italian American woman writer and it offers, as Anthony J. Tamburri notes in his Afterword, “a new articulation of the Italian-American female writer.” Relying on a multiplicity of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives— memoir studies, ethnic studies, Italian American studies, Woolf studies, women's studies, literary theory, cultural studies, food studies—scholars and creative non-fiction writers offer a lucid view of DeSalvo as a writer who has produced one of the largest and most provocative bodies of memoir writing in contemporary US literature, a scholar who has enriched our understanding of Virginia Woolf, and a teacher who has transformed countless lives. More than an anthology, this collection represents a case study that serves as an intervention and example for Italian American interdisciplinary scholarship in the twenty-first century. Placing DeSalvo at the forefront of a cultural renaissance of the body-mind-spirit connection, Personal Effects pays special attention to DeSalvo's memoirs, with their fearless exploration of such topics as immigration, domesticity, war, adultery, illness, mental health, the environment, and sexual, physical, and cultural abuse. As the contributors to this volume eloquently demonstrate, DeSalvo teaches her readers that, although the pen and the keyboard are important tools of the writing practice, the kitchen utensils, meditation, and the conversations over lunch are also integral to a life's work. Personal Effects moves purposefully and elegantly between the genres of the scholarly essay and personal essay and includes well known as well as emerging scholars and writers who create an intimate conversation on the depth and resonance of DeSalvo's work.