Embroidered Stories
Interpreting Women's Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora

Edited by Edvige Giunta
and Joseph Sciorra

394 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 30 b&w photographs, introduction, afterword, bibliography, index

978-1-62846-013-1 Printed casebinding $65.00S

978-1-4968-0459-4 Paper $30.00S

Printed casebinding, $65.00

Paper, $30.00

A thorough exploration of the influence of a traditional skill of the Italian diaspora

For Italian immigrants and their descendants, needlework represents a marker of identity, a cultural touchstone as powerful as pasta and Neapolitan music. Out of the artifacts of their memory and imagination, Italian immigrants and their descendants used embroidering, sewing, knitting, and crocheting to help define who they were and who they have become. This book is an interdisciplinary collection of creative work by authors of Italian origin and academic essays. The creative works from thirty-seven contributors include memoir, poetry, and visual arts while the collection as a whole explores a multitude of experiences about and approaches to needlework and immigration from a transnational perspective, spanning the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century.

At the center of the book, over thirty illustrations represent Italian immigrant women's needlework. The text reveals the many processes by which a simple object, or even the memory of that object, becomes something else through literary, visual, performance, ethnographic, or critical reimagining. While primarily concerned with interpretations of needlework rather than the needlework itself, the editors and contributors to Embroidered Stories remain mindful of its history and its associated cultural values, which Italian immigrants brought with them to the United States, Canada, Australia, and Argentina and passed on to their descendants.

Edvige Giunta, Teaneck, New Jersey, is professor of English at New Jersey City University. She is the author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors, and coeditor of The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture, Italian American Writers on New Jersey, and Teaching Italian American Literature, Film, and Popular Culture. Joseph Sciorra, Brooklyn, New York, is the associate director for Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College. He is editor of the journal Italian American Review and the book Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives.

394 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 30 b&w photographs, introduction, afterword, bibliography, index