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In Pietro DiDonato, the Master Builder, author Matthew Diomede explores the role of the immigrant Italian-American writer in twentieth-century American letters by examining the life and work of the novelist, dramatist, and essayist Pietro DiDonato. Diomede uses the text of two lengthy interviews with the writer to discover the themes of love, death, women, beauty, rebellion, and the mystery of life that can be found in DiDonato's works. He also touches on DiDonato's writing process.
Diomede then incorporates these concepts into a critical analysis of several of DiDonato's works, including his novels, This Woman, Christ in Concrete, and Three Circles of Light; a play, The Love of Annunziata; two biographies, Immigrant Saint: The Life of Mother Cabrini and The Penitent; and an essay, Christ in Plastic. Central to Diomede's analysis are two concepts of analyst Carl Jung - that dreams can prove valuable in understanding ourselves and that full human realization occurs when a person takes on a father (male) component and a mother (female) component. Diomede also explores the development of DiDonato's autobiographical character, Paul/Paolo, in three novels and a play. He then demonstrates the value of dreams by tracing Paul's dream/nightmare in Christ in Concrete through DiDonato's oeuvre to the character's fullest development in This Woman, the pinnacle of DiDonato's work. Besides exploring the Jungian concepts in DiDonato's biographies, Diomede demonstrates how love is the "concrete" that is central to the author's work.
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