Humor in fascist Italy

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In this dissertation I trace a cultural history of humor in fascist Italy by looking at novels, vignettes and articles through the lens of the humorous philosophies of Giacomo Leopardi, Luigi Pirandello, and Aldo Palazzeschi, and the political and cultural context of fascism. The Introduction lays the philosophical foundations of humor in Italian literature and finds Leopardian, Pirandellian and Palazzezchian influences in the works of Massimo Bontempelli and Achille Campanile. Chapter One finds similar echos of literary humor in editions of Il corriere della sera and Il popolo d'Italia printed around the March on Rome and during Mussolini's first months in power. Chapter Two delves into the more overt convergence of politics and humor in the humorous and politically engaged newspapers Il becco giallo and La libertà. It follows the two starkly antifascist publications through the assassination of Matteotti, Mussolini's famous January 3, 1925 speech to parliament, and comments upon the goal of creating political change through humor. Chapter Three looks at the fascinating and extremely perplexing strapaesista magazine Il selvaggio, whose irreverence and critique of fascism leaves the reader wondering how it thwarted regime-sanctioned censorship. Chapter Four returns to Il corriere della sera and Il popolo d'Italia to find the transformation of humor into traditional propaganda, and at times, irrelevant nonsense. The Conclusion looks at the humorous magazines Il bertoldo and the Marc'Aurelio and their biting critique of the failure of humor to effectively fight fascism, ultimately finding that humor unmasks, subverts and criticizes fascism, but remains a passive observer of reality.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2015
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Aquilanti, Alessandra
Associated with Stanford University, Department of French and Italian.
Primary advisor Wittman, Laura
Thesis advisor Wittman, Laura
Thesis advisor Fuller, Mia, 1958-
Thesis advisor Springer, Carolyn
Advisor Fuller, Mia, 1958-
Advisor Springer, Carolyn


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Alessandra Aquilanti.
Note Submitted to the Department of French and Italian.
Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2015.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2015 by Alessandra Rose Aquilanti
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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