ASSAY: A JOURNAL OF NONFICTION STUDIES
Louise DeSalvo wrote literary criticism and biography, memoir and fiction; she pushed the boundaries of the essay, exploring the connection between the personal and the critical; she wrote about Woolf and the craft of writing, food and revenge, adultery and asthma, sexual abuse and domestic violence, immigration and war. DeSalvo was a textual scholar and an editor; she was a teacher and a mentor; she was well-known but not always recognized; she remained at heart an outsider, deeply steeped in the working-class Italian immigrant identity that permeated her fierce feminism.
DeSalvo published over twenty books and countless essays, and her work has been translated and adapted for the stage. For the reader unfamiliar with her vast body of work, we have gathered here a list that can serve as an introduction to this original and influential author.
Adultery: An Intimate Look at Why People Cheat. Beacon Press, 1999.
“Breaking the Jar/Mending the Jar.” In Reflections on Italian American Women Writers, ed. Mary Ann Mannino and Justin Vitiello, 59–71. Purdue University Press, 2003.
Breathless: An Asthma Journal. Beacon Press, 1997.
Chasing Ghosts: A Memoir of a Father, Gone to War. Fordham University Press, 2015.
“Color White/Complexion Dark.” Are Italians White?: How Race is Made in America. Ed. Jennifer Guglielmo and Salvatore Salerno, 17-28. Routledge, 2003.
Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family. Bloomsbury, 2004.
“My Sister’s Suicide.” In Sister to Sister: Women Write about the Unbreakable Bond, ed. Patricia Foster, 247–264. Doubleday, 1995.
On Moving: A Writer’s Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again. Bloomsbury, 2009.
“A Portrait of the Puttana as a Middle-Aged Woolf Scholar.” In Between Women: Biographers, Novelists, Critics, Teachers and Artists Write about their Work on Women, eds. Carol Ascher, Louise DeSalvo, and Sara Ruddick, 35–53. Beacon Press, 1984.
The House of Early Sorrows: A Memoir in Essays. Fordham University Press, 2018.
Vertigo: A Memoir. 1996. Introduction by Edvige Giunta. The Feminist Press, 2002.
Nancy Caronia, PhD, is the co-editor of Personal Effects: Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo (Fordham University Press, 2015). She wrote the introduction for the reprint of DeSalvo’s novel, Casting Off (Bordighera Press, 2014) and contributed “Resisting Displacement in Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe” to Aesthetics of Resistance: Madness in Black Women’s Fictions and the Practices of Diaspora (Palgrave MacMillan 2017). Her Pushcart Prize nominated creative non-fiction has appeared in Lowestoft Chronicle, Ovunque Siamo, New Delta Review, Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine, Tell Us a Story, BioStories, Italian Americana, among others. At West Virginia University, she is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of English where she offers classes in literature and writing.
Edvige Giunta is the author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Writers.. She edited, with Louise DeSalvo, The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture, and with Nancy Caronia, Personal Effects: Essays on Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo. She wrote the introduction for the 2002 reprint of Vertigo by The Feminist Press. She is a Professor of English at New Jersey City University.