The University of Wisconsin Press

Autobiography / Literary Essays / Ethnic Studies

Essays of Identity | Revised Edition
Helen Barolini

"Needs to be on the shelves of every American Library and in the minds of every Italian American."
—Fred L. Gardaphé, Italian America

"Barolini's essays moved me. Their commitment, their passion, their intelligence struck me very powerfully and made them among the most incisive essays on Italian-Americana, ethnicity, and diversity in literature that I have ever read."—Fred Misurella, author of Understanding Milan Kundera: Public Events, Private Affairs and Short Time

Part memoir, part social commentary, and part literary criticism, Chiaroscuro is not only profoundly original but also of crucial importance in establishing the contours of an Italian-American tradition. Spanning a quarter century of work, the essays in Helen Barolini's essays explore her personal search; literature as a formative influence; and the turning of the personal into the political. Included in Chiaroscuro is an updated re-introduction to Barolini's American Book Award-winning collection, The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian-American Women.

Helen Barolini is the author of seven books, including Festa: Recipes and Recollections of Italian Holidays, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press. She has received an American Book Award for The Dream Book: An Anthropology of Writings by Italian American Women, and her essay "How I Learned to Speak Italian" was selected for The Best American Essays, 1998.

Helen Barolini received the DiDonato and Fante Literary Award from the Order Sons of Italy in America to honor her work on Italian Americans.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

cover of Barolini's book features a black and white photo of a woman.

February 1999
LC: 98-048742 PS
240 pp.   6 x 9  

Book icon
Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-16084-5
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout

"A lively, lucid, and often extremely moving collection of essays."
—Sandra Gilbert, author of Wrongful Death: A Memoir

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated June 7, 2012

© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System