Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


Eugenia Paulicelli

Committee Members

Giancarlo Lombardi

Paolo Fasoli

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature


My dissertation argues for the centrality of children's literature under Fascism as a tool to bring about the ultimate goal of forming the "new" Italian. This project examines the relationship between children's literature, the creation of culture and the transmission of ideology in Fascist Italy. I chose the period 1929-1939 because this decade encompasses the years the regime actively sought consolidation of power and consensus, as well as the years of the fascistization of Italian schools. These novels are conduits of fascist ideology veiled as adventure stories, historical novels, bildungsroman or romantic fiction for children and young adults and deserve scholarly attention.

The aim of children's literature is ostensibly to impart life-lessons, however, this seemingly benign goal takes on a different meaning in the context of a totalitarian regime. Children's literature, an extension of popular literature, reveals the cultural dynamics of a society and the values it holds most important. Children's novels from 1930s Italy contain valuable insights into the ways the regime attempted to mold the "new" Italian, imbuing the youngest and most impressionable minds and bodies with fascist values. There is a current need for research that pokes and probes fascist hegemony during the 1930s. My dissertation's analysis of children's literature from 1929-1939 aims to fill this void.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.