The first of its kind in English, Mafia and Outlaw Stories from Italian Life and Literature is a selection of readings from Italian fiction and non-fiction writers on the subject of the Mafia. Among the renowned writers featured are Giovanni Verga, Grazia Deledda, Anna Maria Ortese, Livia De Stefani, and Silvana La Spina, as well as famous witnesses such as Felicia Impastato, Letizia Battaglia, and Rita Atria who provide personal, often terrifying testimonies about their experiences with the Mafia. It is a historically diverse examination of criminal and outlaw institutions by some of the most significant figures in Italian literature. These newly translated writings show the ways in which Italians perceived and wrote about the Mafia and crime from the 1880s to the 1990s. Among them are stories dealing with the important legends used by the Mafia as sources for their image and ideology, legends such as the brigand and the Blessed Paulists.
Some of the fascinating themes discussed are connections between the Mafia, the State, and the Catholic Church; the Mafia and children; women and the Mafia; the Black Hand; and relations between the Mafia and the Allied Forces during the Second World War. Robin Pickering-Iazzi incorporates an invaluable introduction that charts key periods in the history of Italy and the Mafia, and profiles each of the authors in the collection, noting their major works in Italian as well as those available in English. These and other features make this text especially appropriate for courses in Italian studies. Mafia and Outlaw Stories from Italian Life and Literature takes a unique and intriguing approach to the subject of the Mafia, and offers informed judgements about its historical impact on Italian society and culture.
Robin Pickering-Iazzi is a professor in the Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her previous works include The Mafia in Italian Lives and Literature and Mafia and Outlaw Stories, both published by University of Toronto Press.