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Author Torgovnick, Marianna, 1949-

Title Crossing Ocean Parkway : readings by an Italian American daughter / Marianna De Marco Torgovnick.

Published Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1994.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  810.9851 TORG    AVAILABLE
Physical description xi, 177 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references.
Contents Pt. 1. Crossing Ocean Parkway. 1. On Being White, Female, and Born in Bensonhurst. 2. Crossing Ocean Parkway. 3. Slasher Stories. 4. The College Way -- Pt. 2. Readings by an Italian American Daughter. 5. Dr. Dolittle and the Acquisitive Life. 6. The Paglia Principle. 7. The Godfather as the World's Most Typical Novel. 8. The Politics of the "We"
Summary Growing up as an Italian American in Bensonhurst, Marianna De Marco longed for college, culture, and upward mobility. Her daydreams circled around WASP heroes on television - like Robin Hood and the Cartwright family - but in Brooklyn she never encountered any. So she associated moving up with Ocean Parkway, a street that divides the working-class Italian neighborhood where she was born from the middle-class Jewish neighborhood into which she married. This book is Torgovnick's unflinching account of crossing cultural boundaries in American life, of what it means to be an Italian American woman who became a scholar and literary critic. At the start, Torgovnick goes home to Bensonhurst soon after the shocking racial murder of Yusuf Hawkins. The first essay describes life in "the neighborhood" as viewed from the present, with clarity, empathy, and tough critique. The title essay, "Crossing Ocean Parkway", revisits the famous Brooklyn thoroughfare as a symbol of culture that gradually lost its luster. Another essay charts her arrival as a new Ph.D. in a small New England college town, where she faced the painful imperatives of class, power, and privilege. Amid the careful manners and stifling complacency of the college, she suffered the death of her first child; her moving account of this death ends part one. In the book's second section, Torgovnick interweaves autobiographical moments with engrossing interpretations of American cultural icons from Dr. Dolittle to Lionel Trilling, The Godfather to Camille Paglia. Her experiences allow her to probe the cultural tensions in America caused by competing ideas of individuality and community, upward mobility and ethnic loyalty, acquisitivenessand spirituality. Called back to Bensonhurst by the illness and death of her father, Torgovnick concludes with a homecoming epilogue. The desire to be like others gives way to her recognition that likeness is never complete; Torgovnick knows she will always be crossing Ocean Parkway.
Subject Torgovnick, Marianna, 1949-
American literature -- Italian American authors -- History and criticism.
Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social life and customs.
American literature -- Italian influences.
Italian American women -- Biography.
Italian Americans in literature.
Bensonhurst (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs.
ISBN 0226808297 $22.50