Queen Calafia's Paradise: California and the Italian American Novel
Kenneth Scambray

About the Author :
Born in Fresno, California, Kenneth Scambray received his BA from California State University, Fresno, his MA from the University of Washington, and PhD in American Literature at the University of California, Riverside. Since 1981, he has taught in the Department of English at the University of La Verne, where he teaches courses in North American Italian Literature and Los Angeles fiction. His published works include A Varied Harvest: The Life and Works of Henry Blake Fuller (1987), The North American Italian Renaissance: Italian Writing in America and Canada (2000), and Surface Roots: Stories (2004). Since 1978, Scambray has been a book critic for L’Italo-Americano, the west coast Italian newspaper. His uncollected stories and poems have been anthologized and have appeared in national magazines.

In his introduction, Kenneth Scambray explains that California, with its distinctive history, varied geography, and cultural diversity, has become the subject of a growing field of study. He outlines the history of the Italian American narrative and then turns his attention to the Italian American experience in the trans-Mississippi West. He discusses the conventional image of the western hero and heroine in American literature and history and then adds a more complex dimension to the American identity in his analysis of the Italian American protagonist’s experiences in the West. Fundamental to Scambray’s research is Andrew Rolle’s The Immigrant Upraised, a groundbreaking study of the Italian American experience west of the Mississippi. Since Rolle’s work, historians have written extensively on the Italian American experience in the trans-Mississippi West, especially California. Scambray’s Queen Calafia’s Paradise is a seminal study that is not only a contribution to the growing field of the Italian American experience in California, but also to the fields of American literature and California history.

ISBN 0-8386-4117-2, $46.50

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