Jerre Mangione

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Jerre (Gerlando) Mangione (March 20, 1909 – August 16, 1998) was an American writer and scholar of the Sicilian-American experience.

He was a graduate of Syracuse University and of the Federal Writers' Project.

He was a professor of literature at the University of Pennsylvania from 1961 until his retirement in 1978.

Mangione was “widely recognized by students of acculturation as a sensitive chronicler of the problems of negotiation the difficult passages between two cultures.”[1]

He became famous upon the publication of his first book, Mount Allegro, a “classic autobiographical novel” about growing up in the Sicilian-American community of Rochester, New York.[2] Mangione wrote Mount Allegro as a nonfiction memoir; however, his publisher, Houghton Mifflin, "insisted on publishing it as fiction because their sales department decided it would sell better with that label." Mangione consented only to changing the names of the people in the memoir, and he inserted a memorable tongue-in-cheek disclaimer: "The characters in this book are fictitious and have fictitious names. Anyone who thinks he recognizes himself in it is kindly asked to bear that in mind."[3]

Mangione claims that one of the reasons for writing "Mount Allegro" was his desire to show a positive image of Sicilians in America. Up to that point he had "felt that the Sicilians in particular had been much maligned"[4] He also maintained that the book could be seen as a sort of personal Pilgrim's Progress in his relationship to the Sicilians of Rochester: a voyage "from being a kind of confused Italian-American living in two cultures, to observing them and writing about them objectively"[5]

Two decades after the book appeared, the city of Rochester officially renamed Mangione’s old neighborhood Mount Allegro, in tribute to his book.[3]

After publication of his final book, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian-American Experience, Mangione was honored by the Library of Congress with an exhibition of his works and papers.[3]

Jerre's brother, Frank "Papa" Mangione (July, 1910 - August, 2001) is the father of musicians Chuck Mangione and Gap Mangione.

Books[edit]

  • Mount Allegro (1943)
  • Life sentences for everybody (1966)
  • Passion for Sicilians: The World Around Danilo Dolci (1968)
  • The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers Project, 1935-43 (1972)
  • An Ethnic at Large: Memoirs of America in the 30's and 40's (1978)
  • La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience, with Ben Morreale (1992)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter I. Rose, Review of La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience, by Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale. Source: International Migration Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, (Winter, 1993), pp. 900-901 [1]
  2. ^ Peter I. Rose, Review of La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience. by Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale, Source: International Migration Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, (Winter, 1993), pp. 900-901 [2]
  3. ^ a b c “Jerre Mangione, 89, Writer On Italian Immigrant Life,” by Kathryn Shattuck, August 31, 1998, New York Times [3]
  4. ^ “A Melus Interview: Jerre Mangione," by Franco Mulas, "MELUS", Vol. 12, no. 4, Winter 1985, p. 74.
  5. ^ “A Melus Interview: Jerre Mangione," by Franco Mulas, "MELUS", Vol. 12, no. 4, Winter 1985, p. 75.