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From Galileo to Aldo Moro

Italian Imagery in Contemporary New Zealand Literature

Paola Della Valle    Università degli Studi di Torino, Italia    



Italian images and symbols are numerous in contemporary New Zealand literature. A basic distinction must however be drawn between Pākehā writers, that is, New Zealanders of European origin, and writers belonging to the indigenous minority: the Māori. Italy has aroused a different emotional response and its imagery has served (or not) a political purpose according to the author’s affiliation to the group of the colonizers or that of the colonised. In this article I will analyse how Italian images are employed by two living Māori writers, Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace, and by a Pākehā poet, Allen Curnow, passed away in 2001. In particular, I will focus on whether these images pertain to a common system of values and on the extent to which they are functional to the dominant discourse or constitute a means of subversion of it.

Aug. 5, 2016