In 1935, a 10-year-old native of Molise, Italy, entered a Catholic seminary in Puglia with the intention of becoming a missionary. While he never became a priest, he has become a missionary of literature and Italian culture.
Giose Rimanelli's first novel, "Trio al piccione" (1950), was a fictionalized account of his early years in Molise and his experiences during the Second World War. This novel was translated into English by Ben Johnson as "The Day of the Lion" and published in the U.S. in 1954.
In the late 1950s, after a few more books, Rimanelli came to America to give a lecture at the Library of Congress after which he was invited to teach and travel throughout the North and South America. He decided to remain in the United States where he continued to write poetry and fiction, publishing all his work, except for some academic work, in Italian.
In "Una posizione sociale" (1959), he recounts the life of the Italian living in New Orleans in the early 1900s and examines the lynching of 13 Italians. "Tragica America "(1968) contains his reflections of his first years in the United States. Seven years later, he gave us a greater insight into the literature of Italy through "Italian Literature: Roots and Branches."
Since his retirement from academia, Rimanelli has continued writing his fiction in Italian and English. Early in the 1970s, he wrote his first novel in English, titled "Benedetta in Guysterland," which was awarded a 1994 American Book Award by the Before Columbus Foundation. He went on to write many important novels, memoirs, essays and collections of poetry.
-- Fred Gardaphe