Memoria Presente project: Bibliography


Note that the single webpages related to the project have targeted bibliographies focused on the specific subjects covered. This list is in alphabetical order by author (when available). For more information, visit the specific pages:


  • Article about plants brought from the Americas (Accademia Properziana del Subasio). Online article.
  • Baily, Samuel L. Immigrants in the Lands of Promise: Italians in Buenos Aires and New York City, 1870 to 1914. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999. Print.
  • Blengino, Vanni. “Nella letteratura argentina” in Bevilacqua, Piero, Andreina De Clementi, and Emilio Franzina, eds. Storia dell’emigrazione italiana: Arrivi. Rome: Donzelli, 2002. 641–60. Print.
  • Bravi, Adrián N. La gelosia delle lingue: Macerata: Edizioni Università di Macerata, 2017.
    In this collection of essays, Adrián N. Bravi reflects not only on his personal experience in adopting another language but on other writers and thinkers who embarked on journeys into speaking, writing, and thinking in other languages. Bravi, the descendant of Italian immigrants, was born and grew up in Buenos Aires before moving to Italy in the late 1980s, where he still lives and works as a librarian at the Università di Macerata. A writer of novels and essays, since 2000 he was written exclusively in Italian. His essays cover a wide range of topics, from reflections on canonical writers who chose to write in other language (Elias Canetti, Samuel Beckett, Julia Kristeva) to those particular to the Argentine-Italian migratory and cultural exchange (Juan Rodolfo Wilcock). In addition to considering and elaborating on various metaphors for language change, adoption, and rejection, the volume also includes essays on translation, self-translation, and the emotional implications of learning another language. (Summary by Zach Aguilar)
  • Campana, Dino. Canti Orfici e altre poesie: Turin: Einaudi ET Poesia, 2014.
    The Italian poète maudit Dino Campana (1885-1932) traveled widely throughout Italy, Europe, and South America, spending two years in the continent (primarily Argentina and Uruguay) from 1907-1909. There exist no records or direct testimonials of his travels, except for the few poems in the Canti Orfici that describe his time in South America: “Viaggio a Montevideo,” “Dualismo (Lettera aperta a Manuelita Etchegarray),” “Pampa” and “Passeggiata in tram in America e ritorno” all address themes of departure, travel, and discovery as an inner voyage characterized by a sense of loss in a vast geography that disorients the poet. (Summary by Zachary Aguilar, graduate student, Yale University).
  • Clavigero, D. Francesco Saverio. Storia antica del Messico: cavata da’ migliori storici spagnuoli, e da’ manoscritti, e dalle pitture antiche degl’ Indiani…e dissertazioni sulla terra, sugli animali, e sugli abitatori del Messico (Cesena, 1780-1781).   In the same vein of Las Casas’ reports, Mexican Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavijero wrote this book to challenge the popular chronicles of the Americas that represented indigenous people as inferior to the European conquerors. Clavijero offers an encyclopedic view of Mexico embracing botany, anthropology, and history, to name a few fields, with a plethora of details and a substantial amount of respect for the local culture, which he analyzed in person, through direct contact with people and pre-existing texts (he knew local languages), and in dialogue with contemporary historians. He wrote his chronicle, enriched by maps, illustrations, and an astonishingly precise index, during his exile Italy, when Jesuits were expelled from Spain. This book in four volumes contains section devoted to cocoa and chocolate in Mexico that are relevant to the Memoria Presente project. See Early Documents section.
  • Crosby, Alfred W., Jr, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 – 30th Anniversary Edition, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1972. Print.
  • De Amicis, Edmondo. “Dagli Appennini alle Andes.” Short Story included in Cuore. Milan: Treves, 1886. (“From the Apennines to the Andes.” Heart. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2009. 145–65).
    Appearing in the collection of children’s stories Cuore, “Dagli Appennini alle Andes” depicts the odyssey of Marco, a young Genovese, as he travels to Argentina to rescue his sick mother. We accompany Marco through the trials and tribulations he faces in his journey: the infinite expanse of the Atlantic Ocean; the endless streets of Buenos Aires; the voyage by train through the pampa all the way to Córdoba; traveling with gauchos to Tucumán. As Marco travels to further and further into the interior, he is aided by fellow Italians who not only provide him shelter and safe passage in this strange new land, but also create a sense of diffused italianità even outside of the peninsula. The story allows for reflections on themes of transnational identity building, mainly the affirmation and consolidation of Italian identity through post-Unification emigration at the turn of the 19th century, as well as the role of Italians in the creation of Argentine national identity and the formulation of a migration narrative via the mother-child bond, and a melodramatic register. (Summary by Zachary Aguilar, graduate student, Yale University).
  • De Robertis, Carolina.The Gods of Tango. New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2015. Novel.
    Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, this novel interweaves migration and sexuality in bold ways. It follows the story of a young woman who travels by herself from a small village in Italy to Buenos Aires in 1913: bound to meet her husband-to-be as part of an arranged marriage, she finds herself alone with a closet full of men’s suits. And she starts wearing them, after cutting her hair, in order to follow her passion – playing the violin – and secure an income for herself at a time when women are relegated to domestic work. In the process, she discovers the intense world of tango and her own gay sexuality. The novel is available in Italian (La città degli incontri proibiti, Garzanti edition, 2016).
  • Devoto, Fernando. “In Argentina.” in Bevilacqua, Piero, Andreina De Clementi, and Emilio Franzina, eds. Storia dell’emigrazione italiana: Arrivi. Rome: Donzelli, 2002. 25–54. Print.

  • Encyclopedia Britannica entry about “Columbian Exchange” Online entry.
    A general introduction to the mechanisms of the Columbian exchange, with a focus on plants, animals and diseases that were transferred in the process of the exploration, conquest and dominion of the Americas (and Africa). Attention is paid to both directions of the transnational routes of the exchange across the Atlantic, highlighting the short and long-term consequences in all continents in terms of biology and politics.
  • Fiore, Teresa. “Displaced Italies and Immigrant ‘Delinquent’ Spaces in Pariani’s Argentinian Conventillos and Lakhous’s Roman Palazzo.” Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies. New York: Fordham UP, 2017. 83-103. Print.
    The first part of the essay analyzes Laura Pariani’s innovative detective novel Dio non ama i bambini (2007, see details in the specific entry in this bibliography), set early 1900s Buenos Aires, Argentina. Set in the tenement houses the immigrants inhabited (conventillos), and written in a unique hybrid language blending Italian, dialect, and Spanish, the novel is an ideal text to learn about Italian immigration in Argentina at the time of anarchism and anti-immigrant sentiment via the analysis of urban space and gender/class/generational conflict.
  • Giardinelli, Mempo. Santo Oficio de la Memoria. 1993. Madrid: Ediciones B, 2004. Novel.
    A classic immigrant saga with autobiographical elements, the novel relates the story of the Domeniconelles moving from Italy to Argentina at the end of the 1800s. Divided in hundreds of short chapters, the book employs roughly thirty voices, for the most female ones, to relay the vicissitudes of five generations (the genealogical tree is included in the Spanish edition!). Winner of the prestigious Rómulo Gallegos Prize in Venezuela, the novel represents a true accomplishment for the author, who sees in it the story of an entire country, and its social mores. Also available in Italian as Sant’Uffizio della memoria (2017).
  • Màrquez, Gabriel García. “Roma en verano.” El País. June 8, 1982. Newspaper article (in Spanish).
    The piece is a recollection of Márquez’s arrival in Rome in August of 1955. His encounter with Rome is filled with curiosity and lyrical indulgence towards a place that is as new to him as it is reminiscent of his birthplace in Colombia. His impression of the decadence of the ruins, the soporific nature of scorching hot afternoons, and the frivolous exchanges with prostitutes are rendered in a magical language that creates timeless aphorisms about Italy and Italians with unparalleled fluidity.
  • Moretti, Nanni, dir. “Santiago, Italia.” Sacher, 2018. Film.
    Nanni Moretti’s award-winning 2019 documentary, Santiago, Italia highlights the political and cultural ties between Chile and Italy at a very delicate time in 20th-century history. In the early 1970s, Italy opened its Embassy first and then its borders to Chileans fleeing the Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, which overturned with a coup d’état the democratically elected leader Salvador Allende and his Socialist agenda of free universal education and land re-distribution. The little known story of the efforts of the Italian Embassy to save and relocate citizens targeted by the fascist regime is told through the testimonies of those who were there, from refugees to diplomats. “Santiago, Italia is a chilling depiction of living under junta rule and an ultimately inspiring expression of hope amidst dire circumstances” (Distrib Films website), which lends itself to a reflection on the fate of today’s refugees whose protection is much more fragile in a world of tightening borders.
  • Nunn, Nathan, and Nancy Qian. “The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas,” an article by Journal of Economic Perspectives 24:2 (Spring 2010). 163-188. Journal article.
  • Pariani, Laura. Dio non ama i bambini. Turin: Einaudi, 2007. Print (short story).
    Pariani’s Dio non ama i bambini is a choral detective novel interlacing the macrohistory of Argentina at the time of mass immigration with particular reference to the era of anarchist movements and the related anti-Italian sentiment they both produced; the microhistory of the conventillos (tenement houses), a paradigmatic space for the immigrant urban experience; and the micro-microhistory of the children living in/around these conventillos. The primary plot revolves around a series of horrific killings targeting Italian children in a poor neighborhood known (in the novel) as Villa Basura, the “trash villa,” for being made up of poor conventillos located next to the city’s slaughterhouses and garbage. The novel presents a mosaic structure composed of approximately sixty sections focusing on individual characters and offering their points of view. The novel is characterized by an inventive idiom, a unique cocoliche in which the Italian language is influenced by Spanish syntax and phraseology.

  • Pariani, Laura. “Di corno o d’oro” in Di corno o d’oro (Palermo: Sellerio, 1993). Print (short story).
    This short story addresses the vicissitudes of Carlèn, an immigrant that leaves Italy to search for better opportunities in Argentina following his brother. The story presents a highly original structure that reverses the chronological order of events thus challenging the conventional trajectory of the migrant narrative, both in geographical and existential terms. Besides the nuanced rendition of the experience of Northern Italians migrating to South America in the late 1800s story is of great interest also for its refined linguistic experimentation which reflects the characters’ move from dialect to Spanish, framed by the Italian of the narrating voice. Translation of the text by Zach Aguilar is available in the Literature section.
  • Pariani, Laura. “Lo spazio, il vento, la radio” in Il pettine (Palermo: Sellerio, 1995). Print (short story).
    This story can be read as a revisitation of Edmondo De Amicis’ “Dagli Appennini alle Ande/From the Apennines to the Andes,” in which the author is keen on introducing a different gender perspective, that of a young Italian girl traveling to Argentina. The story complicates the issue of class in interesting ways as the trip reveals the distance between the young protagonist and her mother: the former’s growing political awareness nurtured by the presence of Italian anarchists who immigrated to Argentina adds a critical lens to the story that complicates De Amicis’ patriotic agenda without falling into easy celebration of extreme leftist views.
  • Patat, Alejandro. “El país de los sueños perdidos” (Entrevista con Laura Pariani). La Nación May 1, 2022.  Link.
    The interview focuses on Laura Pariani’s strong and complex relationship with Argentina based on his maternal grandfather’s decision to move to Argentina to escape Fascism, and his eventual choice to stay and create a new family there. Pariani’s trip to Argentina to visit him designs an inner journey that marks the young woman then and forever (Pariani’s trip and stay in Patagonia is recounted in the short story “Lo spazio, il vento, la radio”).
  • Various authors. Lettere scritte al signor Pietro Aretino da molti signori, communità, donne di ualore, poeti, & altri eccellentissimi spiriti compiled by Francesco Marcolini da Fortì (Venetia, 1552).The book is a collection of letters purportedly written to Pietro Aretino by his admirers. Born in Arezzo in 1492, Aretino was an accomplished man of letters whose questionable ethics (blackmailing, dissolute life) were as famous as his contributions to poetry, drama and satire. One letter in particular is of relevance for the Memoria Presente project: it was written by Gianambrogio degli Eusebii, also known as Ambrogio Eusebi, Aretino’s servant/secretary. This letter is of great importance for its description of one of Eusebio’s travels, the one in the Riverplate region, comprising parts of today’s Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Most likely written between the late 1530s and the early 1540s in Asunciòn, the text is of relevance for its early description of the area, as well as for its mention of the imprisonment of Cabeza de Vaca. See Early Documents section.

This page was created as part of an NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) grant, and with the logistical support of Montclair State University. For information about the NEH Faculty Award linked to the Memoria Presente project, see link.