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Recommended Reading: My Two Italies


L’Italia dell’arte, della cultura, della bellezza che tutto il mondo ci invidia e vorrebbe visitare almeno una volta nella vita. E l’Italia del malaffare, della disorganizzazione, degli incomprensibili intrighi politici. Sono due facce della stessa realtà secondo Joseph Luzzi, professore americano di italiano...
By Mark Worden - LANGUAGE LEVEL C1 (ADVANCED)

Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

I’d like to recommend a book that I read recently. It’s called My Two Italies by Joseph Luzzi. And Joseph Luzzi is a professor of Italian at Bard College in the United States, in upstate New York, but in spite of this academic background, it’s a very enjoyable and very down to earth book. It basically starts with the fact that Joseph Luzzi is himself the son of Italian immigrants. His parents and older brothers and sisters moved to New Jersey from rural Calabria in the 1950s: he himself was born in... in the States in the 1960s. And “The Two Italies” in the book is the contrast between the Italy that he knew from growing up in this very agricultural family that sort of raised its own pigs and grew its own food and what have you in the middle of... an American suburb, and the contrast between that and the Italy that he later discovered as a student and an academic when he visited wonderful places like Florence and discovered the beauties of the Renaissance and what have you. And so he... “The Two Italies” is personal, but it’s also about “The Two Italies,” which is the... the great Italy that everybody knows and loves – at least in the rest of the world – this very cultured and beautiful and interesting country – and then the other Italy which we see, particularly in the United States, where Italian Americans have the reputation  for being mafiosi and... as is presented in TV shows like Jersey Shore or The Sopranos, or in films like The Godfather. And this film examines that in a very – this book, I’m sorry – examines that in a very interesting way, combining his own personal story with very interesting, in-depth cultural analysis. I think Italians will enjoy it because the subject matter is very interesting, and something that they will recognise and obviously have knowledge of, but it’s also written in a very clear and down to earth way, and you learn a lot about Italy, or at least... or at least I did, and I think that many Italian readers will learn a lot from reading this book.  My Two Italies by Joseph Luzzi: it’s a excellent read.

To listen to our interiew with Joseph Luzzi, click here