14 January 2009


Mary Anne Trasciatti has an article in the new edition of Rhetoric Society Quarterly about trans-atlantic letter-writing in Italian immigrant communities that's rather interesting. Here's the abstract:

"Alfonso Arbib-Costa's 1909 Manuale di Corrispondenza Commerciale, Familiare, e Amorose Italiana-Inglese offered letter-writing instruction to Italian immigrants hoping to succeed in American business and social circles. The book contained some theory, but was primarily a collection of model letters, or formulary. This article identifies the text as one of a distinct type of bilingual, bicultural letter-writing handbooks for immigrants that arose in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, situates it in the American parlor rhetoric tradition, and analyzes its theoretical content and models. Although formularies are often overlooked by scholars, they are rich texts that reveal important connections between rhetoric and culture. Formularies for immigrants are particularly interesting because they clearly demonstrate how attempts at social engineering may be embedded in rhetorical pedagogy. The study concludes with a call for additional research into this area of rhetorical history, which remains largely unknown."

Because so much of what we do in our Rome program is talking through travel-writing, letter-writing seems a natural corollary, and this article does a nice job of fleshing it out.

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Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.