Tag Archives: Children’s literature

News from the journals – May

The latest issue of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2013, no.2) is a special issue with the title ‘Mediating the Risorgimento’. rmis20.v018.i02.coverIts focus is the way in which historical figures and the events in which they played central parts were represented and shaped by the media of the time – painting, photography, opera, theatre and panoramas. The most recent issue of Modern Italy (2013, 1) has an interesting set of articles on Italian cinema, in particular an analysis of the relation between the (pre-Grillo) commedia all’italiana and the other media of the 1960s, especially advertising. Revisiting Modern Italy‘s 2012 issues, two contributions to topics which have since appeared in our posts deserve highlighting in case they have been missed. Penny Morris, Francesco Ricatti and Mark Seymour edited a special issue on ‘Italy and the Emotions’ (2012, vol.17, no.2) which contains inter alia an explanation of Tottimania and its wider significance.  And for those captivated by Caterina Sinibaldi’s post on translating Alice during the Fascist period, Jomarie Alano (2012, vol.17, no.1) examines another story for children which, conceived in 1938 as a contribution to anti-Fascism, also has a decidedly non-conforming protagonist: Ada Gobetti’s Storia del gallo Sebastiano. 

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Alice’s Adventures in Fascist Italy

Caterina Sinibaldi   Universities of Warwick and Bath (U.K.)



Front and back cover of Lewis Carroll, Alice nel paese delle meraviglie, transl. by Mario Benzi (1935). Copyright Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence.

When I mention the hostility faced by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland during the Italian Fascist regime (1925-1943), people usually react with surprise. How could such an innocent, harmless tale be perceived as a ‘moral threat’ by Fascist authorities? Surely they must have been too concerned with silencing political opponents and maintaining their grip on the country to care about a naïve children’s story.

Scholars who have been studying Carroll’s masterpiece from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (including mathematics, philosophy, and literary studies) have drawn attention to the complexity of Alice, whilst also highlighting its innovatory aspects. Continue reading

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