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Sara

You certainly haven't bored me!!  It would appear that the dialects of Italy
are preserving much of the good life of the Italian peninsula.

Perhaps the continued healthy life of dialects is a reflection of Italians'
attitude towards central authority.  :>)  Viva il individuo!

Your side by side examples of Italian and Venetian were especially valuable
to me.  I found the Venetian softer, quieter and more "Country" than the
Italian.  Perhaps excellent for a pastoral/lyric poetry.

Your mention of Italians participating in the American Civil War also
sparked my interest.

I recently read "The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl.  Two of the major
characters in the book are Italian immigrants to Boston.  The action takes
place immediately after the American Civil War and contains all sorts of
interesting nuggets of life during the time.  I didn't find it a very good
mystery novel but found its setting and subject, the first American
translation of Dante, fascinating.  Good stuff on Dante, Longfellow,
anti-slavery and mid 19th century intellectual Boston.  Poor crafting of a
mystery novel, however.  Perhaps it was hasty and poor editing.  I got the
impression that the book had been brutally edited from perhaps 850 pages to
350.

Your comment on the Italian soldiers raised a point little appreciated in
America.  Most Americans think of the soldiers of the Civil War as largely
native born.  A book on the experiences of the Italian soldiers, as reported
by their letters home, in the American Civil War would yield a valuable and
unique viewpoint unknown to the average American.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM