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The God of NY - Book presentation



The God of NY - Book presentation

Presentation of the book: 

The God of NY - by Luigi Fontanella

(translated by Siân E. Gibby)

Professor and Author Luigi Fontanella will dialogue with Prof. Anthonby J. Tamburri (Dean of Calandra Italian American Institute) about the novel THE GOD OF NEW YORK, in the context of early Italian Emigration and Culture at the early decades of the Twentieth Century.

New York, 1910. Pasquale D’Angelo, a sixteen-year-old native of Abruzzo, arrives at Ellis Island together with his father and a group of their companions in search of a better life. The shock of the New World is brutal, one of the worst experienced by our emigrants; but at the same time, for Pasquale (who becomes “Pascal”) it’s powerfully attractive, electrifying. Unlike his buddies, whose sole aim is to improve their condition and to send some money back home to their families in Italy, Pascal develops a desire to become a writer, an American poet. In order to do so, he studies English assiduously, night and day, utilizing every free moment he gets during his merciless schedule at work as a stone cutter, a manual laborer, a pick and shovel man. With titanic amounts of perseverance and an indestructible faith in poetry, Pascal will carry on until he reaches the limit of his sufferings. Over time, he will become convinced of having a mission that he has been destined for since birth, with a responsibility to obey his internal voice in the face of the enormously difficult life circumstances and countless sacrifices he must bear, of a new language learned with a crumbling Webster’s Dictionary and with the help of sublime teachers like Keats and Shelley—teachers who light the way along his path and give him the strength to keep going. It’s a promethean struggle, made more difficult by crippling poverty, a struggle that will lead the young stone cutter to leave his friends after a long and exhausting stint of manual labor and to retreat in the end to a miserable hovel in Brooklyn in order to take on the challenge of New York City and the “god” that rules it.

Luigi Fontanella received his Laurea in Lettere at "La Sapienza" in Rome, Italy, where he was a student of Giacomo Debenedetti. Fulbright Fellow at Princeton University (1976-1978), he received a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures, magna cum laude, from Harvard. Professor Emeritus at Stony Brook University, he was the Chair of the European Languages and Literatures Department (2015-2017). Fontanella has published nine books of literary criticism, more than one hundred scholarly articles, twelve collections of poetry, and four novels. Among his most prestigious literary awards: Alfonso Gatto (1987), Circe Sabaudia (2000), Laurentum (2008), Catullo (2014), Pascoli (2015), Viareggio-Giuria (2015). President of I.P.A. (Italian Poetry in America), Fontanella is the founder and Chief-editor of Gradiva and Gradiva Publications. His poetry has been translated into French, English, Russian, Spanish and German. His most recent novel is Il dio di New York (Firenze: Passigli Ed. 2017), now available in English (New York: Bordighera Press, 2022, tr. into English by Siân E. Gibby).

Anthony J. Tamburri is Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College, CUNY) and Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures. He is co-founder and co-director of Bordighera Press, past president of the Italian American Studies Association and of the American Association of Teachers of Italian. Concentrating on cinema, literature, and semiotics, he has authored 18 books in both English and Italian, and more than 130 peer-reviewed essays and book chapters. His books within the past five years include: Un biculturalismo negato: La scrittura “italiana” negli Stati Uniti (2018); The Columbus Affair: Imperatives for an Italian/American Agenda (2021); Signing Italian/American Cinema: A More Focused Look (2021); Italian Diaspora Studies and the University: Professional Development, Curricular Matters, Cultural Philanthropy (2022); and A Politics of [Self-]Omission: The Italian/American Challenge in A Post-George Floyd Age (2022). He is executive producer and host of the Calandra Institute’s TV program, Italics, in collaboration with CUNY TV. He writes a column for La Voce di New York, “The Italian diaspora.” In 2010, the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana was conferred upon him motu proprio by the Hon. Giorgio Napolitano, then President of Italy.

Siân Elaine Gibby is Writer/Editor at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY. She has translated into English a small number of Italian works of history, fiction, and essays. She is also a playwright and has written a play about Italian American poet Pascal D'Angelo.



Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Time: At 6:00 pm

Organized by : IIC-NY

Entrance : Free


Istituto Italiano di Cultura - NY