Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


University of Wollongong. Dept. of Languages


This thesis proposes to examine how Italian immigrants to Australia have described their experience through the medium of narrative literature, It is the first detailed study of its type and as such it seeks to lay the foundation for further more specific studies, It examines some thirty-five narrative texts, both published and unpublished, comprising novels and collections of short stories plus a number of individual short stories written by some 27 writers over a twenty-one year period (1965-1986), a period which coincides with the most intensive activity in Italo-Australian narrative writing to date.

The first chapter deals with pertinent theoretical and social issues, presents a survey of previous studies on Italian "migrant" literatures in English-speaking countries and provides a brief overview of aspects of "Italo-Australian" literature which are not dealt with in the main body of the thesis, Chapters 2-9 deal with individual authors and works. An analysis appropriate to this stage in the development of the subject is employed which involves an approach combining authors and themes. This approach has been adopted since certain authors are seen as identified with certain sets of major themes. Some overlap has inevitably occurred and this has been appropriately cross-referenced in the relevant chapters.

The conclusion explores the theoretical, sociological and literary implications of the texts examined, Although it is problematical to classify a number of the texts as "literature" in terms of the qualitative criteria generally applied, there is no doubt of their value as sociological documents presenting a view of Australia and of Australian society which is unique. "Italo-Australian narrative", as defined by the present study, is characterised by themes linked to the migrant experience although there are some exceptions to this general pattern. The writers are in the main first generation immigrants who relate their feelings for and reactions to the new environment and their attitudes towards their place of origin.

The thesis is complemented by a comprehensive bibliography of the works consulted and referred to as well as four appendices which lie outside the area of the defined topic but which are relevant to it insofar as they deal with some of the broader issues related to Italian "migrant" literature.

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