Children’s Literature in Italy
A space dedicated to Italian and international research on children’s literature and culture

Warwick Goble. "Grannonia and the fox", illustration from Giambattista Basile. Stories from the Pentamerone, E. F. Strange, editor. London: Macmillan & Co., 1911.

Calls for Papers

Special Issue / Edited Volume Laura E. Richards’ Children’s poems

Deadline for abstract submissions: March 31, 2022
Deadline for final paper submissions: September 30, 2022
Contacts: yeginz@gmail.com and verena.laschinger@uni-erfurt.de

Drs. Verena Laschinger (Erfurt U, Germany) and Etti Gordon Ginzburg (Oranim College, Israel) welcome proposals for 7000 word-long essays to include in a special issue/edited volume of essays exploring Laura Richards’ “so-called nonsense poetry”. The collection aims to expand Richards’ “budding study and establish a multifaceted approach towards both Laura Richards’ life and her children’s verses, while shedding new light on the society she was part of as well as on nineteenth-century American children’s poetry by and large”. For more information, see CFP attached.

Call for reviewers in academic journal - "Children’s Readings" (Detskie Chtenya)

Deadline for proposals: book review proposals are welcome at all times
Contacts: detskie.chtenia@gmail.com

The Russian academic journal "Children’s Readings" (Detskie Chtenya) is looking for contributors to their book reviews section. Reviewers are invited to submit 8000-10000 word-long pieces exploring new publications on children’s literature; while Russian children’s literature is the main focus, studies exploring children’s literature from other countries are also welcome. For more information, see attachment.

Our project

Children’s Literature in Italy is a project that stems from the wish of the community of Italian scholars working on children’s literature and culture to share their work with the international academic and non-academic public.

Our mission

We aim to promote the work of scholars at all career stages, and from a wide range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds; disseminate knowledge about children's literature and culture among the academic and the wider public; and create a space where people with an academic, professional, or personal interest in children’s literature and culture can gather information and engage with the latest debates in this area.

If you are interested in learning more and keeping up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.

Ida Baccini, Memorie di un pulcino e come andò a finire il pulcino, Bemporad & figlio, Firenze 1918 (cover)

Our team

Laura Tosi

Full Professor and Deputy Head of Department, Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies
tosilaur@unive.it

Laura Tosi is Full Professor and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy). Her research interests span between Elizabethan and Jacobean drama (especially gender and adaptation studies) and children’s literature in English (especially fairy tale and fantasy literature).

In 2010, she was invited to give the prestigious Annual Sybille Pantazzi Memorial Lecture in Toronto, at the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books. Her talk, Once Upon a Puppet: Pinocchio and Fairy Tales in Contemporary Culture, matched the exhibition "A name that will bring him luck": Pinocchio and the Italian Fairy Tale Tradition. Her work on Pinocchio and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass led her to specialize in transnational children’s literature. In 2015, this gained her an invitation to speak at the “150 anni di Meraviglie” (“150 Years of Wonders”) conference in occasion of the anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures at the internationally-renowned Bologna Children's Book Fair. The most recent product of her research in this field is the book The Fabulous Journeys of Alice and Pinocchio: Exploring their Parallel Worlds (Mc Farland, 2020), authored with Peter Hunt. In 2020, the book won both the “Elisa Frauenfelder” international prize [ITA] of the Università degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincasa, Naples, for the category “Culture and innovation”, and the national prize of the Associazione Italiana di Anglistica (Italian Association of English Studies), the AIA Book Prize 2020 (Senior), for the category English Cultural Studies.

Professor Tosi also combines her expertise in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama with research in the field of children’s literature. In 2014, she published the monograph Raccontare Shakespeare ai bambini, Adattamenti, riscritture, riduzioni dall’800 a oggi (Franco Angeli 2014), while in 2015 she authored a children’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice illustrated by Desideria Guicciardini, which was adapted  [ITA] for the stage at the Globe Theatre, London, in 2016. In that same year, she was also invited as a speaker for the conference “As You Like It: Teaching Shakespeare in Primary and Secondary Classrooms” held at the British Library, London. In 2021, her adaptation of The Merchant of Venice was translated in Chinese [ITA].

Professor Tosi was part of the initial team that contributed to the work of Children’s Literature in Italy; together with Professor Alessandra Petrina, of the University of Padua, she co-edited the volume Dall'ABC a Harry Potter. Storia della letteratura inglese per l'infanzia e la gioventù (From ABC to Harry Potter – A History of English children’s and young adult literature). The text consisted in a collection of essays produced by the members of the team, and was the first history of English children’s literature in Italian ever produced.

Links to Professor Tosi’s main publications in the area of children’s literature are available in the “Publications” section.

Anna Gasperini

Marie Curie Plus One Research Fellow, Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies
anna.gasperini@unive.it

Anna Gasperini is a Marie Curie Plus One Research Fellow at the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy). She received her PhD in 2017 from the National University of Ireland Galway and she is the author of Nineteenth Century Popular Fiction, Medicine and Anatomy – The Victorian Penny Blood and the 1832 Anatomy Act (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). She researches intersections between nineteenth-century literature and medical history. In 2018 she won a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship to develop FED - Feeding, Educating, Dieting: A Transnational Approach to Nutrition Discourses in Children’s Narratives (Britain and Italy, 1850-1900), a transnational comparison of nineteenth-century children’s literatures as related to child nutrition. Having completed FED, in October 2021 she won one of the Marie Curie Plus One Research Fellowships that Ca’ Foscari University of Venice reserves to select Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows who have recently completed their project to submit an application for a major European Research Council funding scheme (Horizon Europe or ERC) with Ca' Foscari.

Find Dr Gasperini’s interview about the closing of her project and its future developments [ITA].

Find Dr Gasperini’s interview about the beginning of her project [ITA].

Alessandro Cabiati

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow, Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies) and Brown University
alessandro.cabiati@unive.it 

Dr Alessandro Cabiati is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Brown University. His current research project, “Madness in Fairy Land” (MadLand), investigates the ways in which nineteenth-century literary fairy tales, for children as well as for adults, contributed to the cultural discourse on psychological deviance, abnormality, and monstrosity while also influencing medical debate. Dr Cabiati’s main interests are in comparative literature and culture, focusing in particular on the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural intersections between fairy-tale studies and nineteenth-century psychiatry in France, Britain, Italy, and the US. In 2019, he was the recipient of the IAFA’s Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for his essay on pathological obsession and refrains in Arrigo Boito’s fantastic literature and fairy tale “Re Orso”. In recent years, he undertook research at King’s College London and at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh.

Find Dr Cabiati’s interview about the beginning of his project [ITA].

Arthur Rackham, “Little Miss Muffet”, from the nursery rhyme of the same name, in Mother Goose - The Old Nursery Rhymes, 1913.

Our history

Children’s Literature in Italy was founded in 2007 at the University of Milan by Professor Francesca Orestano, with the support of the British Consulate-General, Milan, the British Council, and the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL). The project was conceived by English Literature scholars, but it aimed to become a key resource for academics and readers from other disciplines and fields. Its chief purposes were:

  • to provide information to scholars, teachers, and readers
  • to encourage research
  • to grant visibility to the subject within the area of Literary and Cultural Studies in English
  • to foregrounded research in Italy in the field of children’s and YA literature.

Cooperation was (and will continue to be) pivotal to ensuring the achievement of these goals: the initial team of scholars that devoted their efforts to this purpose included researchers from the Universities of Foggia, Padua, Salerno, Venice and Milan, specifically:

  • Mariangela Mosca Bonsignore, (Università degli Studi di Torino)
  • Elena Paruolo (Università degli Studi di Salerno)
  • Alessandra Petrina (Università degli Studi di Padova)
  • Laura Tosi (Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)
  • Antonella Cagnolati (Università degli Studi di Foggia)
  • Carlo Pagetti (Università degli Studi di Milano)
  • Marco Canani (Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara), Assistant editor and webmaster

In 2021, following Professor Orestano’s retirement, the website moved to Ca’ Foscari University, under the management of Professor Tosi, and will continue to disseminate and promote studies in children’s literature developed by both Italian and international scholars.

Warwick Goble, "Betta making Pintosmalto", in Giambattista Basile, Stories from the Pentamerone, E. F. Strange Ed. London: Macmillan & Co., 1911.