John Gatt-Rutter’s The Bilingual Cockatoo, a study based on more than 60 biographies and autobiographies of Italian Australians, will be launched by the author with Paolo Baracchi and Richard Freadman on Wednesday 30th April at 6.30 pm at the Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton. Attendance is free, with light refreshment and drinks, but seats should be booked here or by telephone (03 9349 9021).
The book looks at full-length life-writing texts, including accounts of the Italian Australian experience of war-time internment, success stories, narratives of trauma and grievance, and life narratives as a form of ethnography.
It covers both the textual strategies deployed by the writers and the experiential dimensions highlighted by the texts. There is a variable focus, ranging from a whole chapter devoted to a single text, to surveys of a dozen or more texts in each of four chapters. A final overview maps out a chronology and typology of Italian Australian life writing relating it to immigrant life writing generally.
John Gatt-Rutter, formerly Vaccari Professor of Italian Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, is an authority on Italo Svevo, a close friend of James Joyce in the formative years when Ulysses was written.