Cloudland, stronzoland, brisbane: Urban development and ethnic bildung in Venero Armanno’s fiction
AbstractThe evolving urban landscape of Brisbane becomes a significant presence in Venero Armanno’s fiction, distinct from the often more documented sites of Sydney, Melbourne. The use of Brisbane as the setting for Armanno’s novels is significant in that this city, like the characters he creates within it, is often seen as being in search for its own culture and identity, having grown up in the shadow of the reputedly more cosmopolitan eastern coast capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane’s recovery from its somewhat shady past involving corrupt government and law enforcement echoes the journey upon which Armanno’s protagonists embark. Furthermore, Brisbane, especially the suburbs of New Farm and Fortitude Valley featured in Armanno’s works, acts as a symbolic Little Italy to which the protagonists might retreat in search of their ethnic beginnings. Questions of community and identity are intrinsic to the urban landscape through which the protagonist travels in their quest for Bildung. Focussing on the three of Armanno’s fictional works set in the city of Brisbane and using critical definitions of Bildung and the notion of ethnic Bildungsromane, this paper aims to examine the parallel development of the Italian Australian protagonists and their urban environments.
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