Martin Bahrmann, a local politician in the Saxon town of Meissen, was just preparing to speak in a council debate on refugee shelters when a ball-point pen ricoched off the back of his head. It was a cheap, plastic writing utensil -- blue with white writing. As a member of the business friendly Free Democrats FDP , Bahrmann's seat in the regional council is at the very back and the visitors' gallery is just behind him.
The pen must have come from somebody in the audience. When Bahrmann turned around, he found himself looking at a sea of hostile faces. Although there were around 80 visitors in the gallery, nobody admitted to having seen who threw the pen. On the contrary: The FDP representative and his colleagues were later insulted as being "traitors to the German people. Bahrmann, 28, does not draw a salary for his involvement in local politics.
It is merely his contribution to a functioning democracy. He was born and grew up in the region he represents and he has known many of the people there for many years. But even he, Bahrmann says, now must be more careful about when and where he makes political appearances. One Left Party representative was spit on as he was walking down the street while another was threatened with violence.
Meanwhile, representatives from the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany AfD party and the neo-Nazi NPD were celebrated for having voted against the refugees in the regional council. The pen thrown in Meissen may not have garnered much media attention, but it says a lot about the public mood in Germany, a country in which increasing numbers of people are united against the state, its institutions and its elected officials. It is a country in which antipathy towards democracy is gradually increasing while xenophobia is growing rapidly.
And it is a country where incidents of right-wing violence are on the rise and refugee hostels are set on fire almost daily. It is still just a radical minority that is responsible for much of the xenophobia and violence. The tens of thousands of volunteers who offer their assistance in refugee shelters every day still predominate. But at the same time, a new right-wing movement is growing -- and it is much more adroit and, to many, appealing than any of its predecessors.
After the s, the jackboot crowd was replaced by the "Autonomous Nationalists," right-wing extremists who disguised themselves by wearing left-wing clothing, but who were just as violent as their forebears. These street-extremists are still around, but they have received reinforcements. The New Right comes out of the bourgeois center of society and includes intellectuals with conservative values, devout Christians and those angry at the political class.
The new movement also attracts people that might otherwise be described as leftist: Putin admirers, for example, anti-globalization activists and radical pacifists. Movements are growing together that have never before been part of the same camp. Together, they have formed a vocal protest movement that has radicalized the climate in the country by way of public demonstrations and a digital offensive on the Internet. The state and its organs, such as the government and parliament, have become the object of a kind of derision not seen since the founding of postwar Germany.
Once again, political representatives are being denounced as "traitors to their people," the parliament as a "chatter chamber" and mainstream newspapers as "systemically conformist. It's not just the government's refugee policies that are bringing the New Right together. The origins are much deeper, reaching back to the protests against the welfare reforms passed in the early s, the anger at the euro bailouts and demonstrations against massive construction projects such as Stuttgart They were all demonstrations of angry citizens who felt their politicians were failing them.
Many of them have since become even angrier and have, at least internally, transformed into radicals. The 1 million refugees who have arrived in Germany in are now acting as a catalyst for this new right-wing movement. The fear of foreigners, of being "swamped" by them, is bonding the New Right together and drawing more "concerned citizens" into their ranks every day.
German society seems more unsettled than it has in a long time. Some 54 percent said they are concerned that the danger of terrorism is higher due to the influx of refugees and 51 percent believe that the crime rate will rise. Forty-three percent are worried that unemployment will increase.
The answers reflect a deep unease in our society. Many people seem to have lost their orientation. They feel that their concerns are not being taken seriously enough by the federal government, which hasn't exactly given the impression that it has the refugee crisis under control. That doesn't mean that these people will succumb to the siren song of the far-right, but it does mean they have become more susceptible to it. Yet the right-wing populist phenomenon is not one that is typically German. Such parties have been gaining in strength almost everywhere in Europe in recent years and societies appear to be radicalizing across the entire Continent while the political center empties out.
Thus far, though, German politics and the German populace have been able to resist the right-wing seduction -- movements like the Front National in France , for example, which celebrated strong results in the first round of regional elections last Sunday. These days, though, the question as to whether such a thing could happen in Germany has become more pressing.
Germany's New Right is following a strategy similar to that of Front National head Marine Le Pen: that of putting a friendly face on radicalism. Her followers are no longer to appear threatening. They should seem friendly, like the nice conservative next door. There is much that is reminiscent of the Tea Party in the US.
That movement came into being as a result of a radical rejection of establishment politics in Washington. Those who joined were united by a sense that they were being cheated by political, business and media elites. Their radicalism has since changed US society and the Republican Party to such a degree that they are hardly recognizable anymore. Driven in part by Tea Party ideology, the campaign ahead of the Republican primaries has turned into a contest to see who can come up with the most drastic positions. Donald Trump, who is currently leading in the polls, slid to a new low with his demand that all Muslims be prevented from entering the United States.
There are plenty of indications that such a Tea Party movement would fundamentally alter the political landscape in Germany as well. The right-wing populist AfD now has up to 10 percent support according to the most recent surveys -- and this despite an embarrassing power struggle at the top over the summer and an extreme lack of professionalism. The other parties, though, have been left to helplessly watch the developments on the right wing of the political spectrum. Sigmar Gabriel, who is Chancellor Angela Merkel's vice chancellor and head of the center-right Social Democratic Party, felt in the summer that it was important to keep the lines of communication open to "Pegida," the xenophobic protest movement that stages weekly anti-refugee marches in Dresden.
Not long after, though, he abandoned that idea, preferring instead to refer to the demonstrators simply as a "pack. But it is Merkel's conservatives -- her Christian Democrats combined with the Christian Social Union in Bavaria -- that are the most unsettled. Their members and functionaries are torn between their loyalty to a chancellor who opened Germany's doors to the refugees and their desire to provide a political home to those who are concerned about the migrant influx.
Indeed, Merkel's political fate will partly be decided by how she chooses to deal with the New Right. It is a movement that one can see firsthand every Sunday at 4 p. The organizers of the weekly "We Are Germany" demonstration have assembled their flatbed trucks and an audience of a couple thousand people has gathered. The purpose of the event is to provide a stage to everyday citizens, an idea that goes back to the weeks leading up to the collapse of East Germany. Hilmar Brademann is the first to step up to the microphone. A house painter from Plauen, he is the founder of the local carnival club and is well-liked and respected.
Brademann says he doesn't have anything against foreigners in principle. But please not here in Plauen. The audience applauds his words. They continue cheering when he says that he is opposed to public benefits being given to refugees. He then addresses his concerns about crime. The "We Are Germany" demonstrations in Plauen have thus far been seen as a more moderate version of the Pegida marches in Dresden. It is neither a place for waving Bismarck-era war flags nor for wooden gallows bearing Angela Merkel's name -- both of which have been seen in Dresden.
Representatives from right-wing parties are unwanted. But in recent weeks, the mood in Plauen has become more aggressive. Instead of referring to the "Federal Republic," speakers increasing refer to it as the "shit state" or the "gang state. Dinnebier, a construction supervisor from Plauen, warned recently of new customs that he fears could be brought to Germany by refugees from Africa: "When a local king there dies," he said, "at least seven virgins are buried in his grave with him.
Such hateful slogans and sentiments against the state and foreigners are coming from law-abiding citizens from the heart of society. They display a mixture of old prejudices combined with new conspiracy theories that is typical for the movement on the right-wing of Germany's political spectrum. The Otto Brenner Stiftung, a foundation with ties to German labor unions, published a study of right-wing populism in Germany over the summer. The organization found that supporters of the New Right no longer clearly identify themselves as right-wing.
The effort found success not long thereafter. The new "cross-front" is fond of reading the monthly magazine Compact. Many of his commentaries, such as those in opposition to the trans-Atlantic free trade deal or the alleged warmongering of the US would still not look out of place in leftist newspapers. Political scientist Markus Linden, from the University of Trier, believes that the new protest movement is primarily united in its distrust of societal elites.
Politicians, business leaders, media professionals: They are all suspected of having formed a conspiracy against everyday people. But you do have a civil responsibility: that of showing those at the top where the limits are. He studied education, wears a fashionably tailored black suit and invites his readers to events in the Best Western Premier Hotel Moa Berlin.
Not unlike a medical conference. Participants were only told of the conference's exact location by email one day earlier. The checks at the entrance are strict, so the event gets started an hour late. Media coverage is not desired. In the Germany he describes, supermarket cashiers are threatened by refugees "with machetes.
German schoolchildren, he says, are being disadvantaged by their do-gooder teachers and are being forced to dress in accordance with "Islamic custom. The Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, which has ties to the Kremlin in Moscow, supported the Compact conference as an event partner. Launched in , one of the institute's co-founders is a lawyer with ties to Vladimir Putin. Located in Berlin, the institute "for the promotion of the German-Russian friendship" offers language courses, readings and concerts. It seeks to "counter" Anglo-Saxon influence with "something Russo-German," for example with Putin's vision of "Eurasia.
A former first lieutenant in the reserves, he was forced to leave the German military in for his participation in "right-wing extremist endeavors. Kubitschek also speaks at Pegida events, such as one in Dresden at the beginning of October. It is good, he said, that a clash is brewing. The crowd answered: "Resistance!
Ken Jebsen is also among the leaders and idols of the movement, a former moderator with the public broadcaster RBB who refers to the Sept. Felix Menzel, editor-in-chief of the right-wing publication Blaue Narzisse and a creative muse behind the irredentist "Identity Movement," is also involved. In his blog, Menzel describes the current state of Germany as follows: "A government that no longer obeys the law, and supported by parliament, the press and possibly also the courts, is confronted by a protest movement that is searching for the lowest common denominator to transform itself into a mass movement.
Most New Right leaders don't perpetrate violence themselves. Rather, they exert influence on the mood of the country -- at conferences, on market squares and, most of all, in the Internet. In doing so, they are creating an atmosphere that encourages violence-prone right-wing extremists to act on the rhetoric. It is hardly surprising that the man who attacked the Cologne mayoral candidate Henriette Reker with a knife only now became violent.
He had been well known as a neo-Nazi for 30 years, but had never been accused of violence. Now, though, he suddenly felt emboldened. Cases of right-wing violence have increased dramatically in recent months -- and the attacks are getting more brutal. On the night of Dec. Ten people, including two babies, suffered smoke inhalation. There's nowhere to live here. The demonstration and the fire were only reported in a few nationwide outlets. People have become used to such attacks in Germany. By Dec. Compared to , the number of attacks has at least quadrupled. Arson attacks have increased fold, from six in to 68 this year.
In October alone, officials registered 1, politically motivated infractions committed by the right wing. In September, the total was 1, Since the summer, the increase in violence has been steep. He says it is not just a problem for the country's security apparatus, but for the entire society at large. Officials, he says, are watching "very carefully to see if trans-regional structures are developing and what crime patterns and perpetrator characteristics are identifiable.
Not even a third of the perpetrators identified have had previous encounters with the authorities. The majority had spotless records before they marched off to their local refugee hostel.
Pinocchio: Carlo Collodi | ohyqukecew.cf
Kim M. On Feb. His act was meant to prevent the arrival of new neighbors, six refugees from Iraq. It is a common refrain. The more the New Right is able to present itself as the victim of a hostile political class, the stronger will be the impulse to resort to violence in the fight against that class. This new form of resistance can be found across the entire country. In Heppenheim, a city of 25, in the state of Hesse, unknown arsonists set fire in early September to a baby carriage at the entrance of a hostel housing 50 refugees. It was the middle of the night, and smoke quickly filled the staircase.
One resident jumped out of a second floor window and sustained serious injuries while several others suffered from smoke inhalation. An analysis completed by the BKA found that the refugee issue has the capacity to "generate a substance-ideological consensus" on society's right-wing fringe.
Last summer, the BKA warned that those who welcome refugees with open arms could increasingly become objects of right-wing hate. The number of attacks on the offices of political parties or political representatives has spiked dramatically in recent weeks. There are Pegida chapters now in several states, and some of them have come under observation by domestic intelligence officials. Right-wing violence was also a central focus of last week's state interior minister conference in Koblenz.
State intelligence officials have been asked to develop a "counter-strategy" by spring. That is when the next big wave of refugees is expected -- and the next wave of hate.
Morphometrics, 3D Imaging, and Craniofacial Development
But even more important than combating the symptoms is the question of what could have caused this shift to the right. Where does the rage against foreigners and "them up there" come from? Civil War! Some of this may be attributable to a kind of globalization that primarily benefits business and political elites, leaving many citizens feeling like they only ever see its downsides.
All they see is jobs being outsourced abroad, wage dumping or migrants and refugees, whom they perceive as threats. From undisciplined puppet, hanged victim, watchdog, and donkey, Pinocchio comes to heroism and human form. Each of the deaths and resurrections in the novel is a symbolic reminder of this overall pattern.
To underscore the motif, Collodi shows us Pinocchio looking at himself in a mirror "as happy and joyful as if it were the Easter holidays" p. To be reborn is not just to live again; it is to change and to grow as the Fairy does. Thus Pinocchio's picaresque journey leads him to a new status: boyhood.
And what is boyhood to Collodi? It is central to this concept that children have the same emotions, needs, and, to some extent, responsibilities, as their parents. They are not fragile ornaments to be sheltered but rather adults-in-becoming who must face, with parental guidance, the trials of the world so that they can function in it as responsible adults. Collodi does not show us Pinocchio as an adult, but he does, through epic symbolism, show us his potential to be one.
The puppet-turned-boy is that hero that every loved and loving child can be. It is Collodi's tribute to children that he chooses to depict their very real trials and triumphs in terms of mythic patterns ordinarily reserved for adults. Richard Wunderlich and Thomas J.
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The Adventures of Pinocchio, trans. Murray ; rpt. New York : Lancer Books, , p. All citations are taken from this edition and hereafter are cited parenthetically in the text. Although the translation has become a little dated, it is a faithful rendition of Collodi's descriptive words and phrases. James W. West Lafayette, Ind. Is Pinocchio a touchstone—a classic of children's literature? The answer depends on which Pinocchio one is talking about and what criteria one uses to define a classic. We think the answer is yes, otherwise we would not have spent the last several years in research and writing about the book; but some preliminary explanation is necessary if our case is to be appreciated.
To begin with, we are talking about faithful English translations of Collodi's Italian novel, not the Disney film nor the scores of adaptations and abridgements through which most people know the puppet. Even though few people have read the unabridged version, most would probably agree that Pinocchio is a classic because its characters and incidents have become part of our culture. To a certain extent they would be correct: a book with such a cultural impact must be important, even if its influence has come via adaptations. While Pinocchio has not been tampered with in Italy, in North America there is a long tradition of editorial meddling, which suggests that over the years some arbiters of taste have decided that the novel deserved to be considered a classic only after proper alterations had been made.
In fact, some of the very features that we believe make Pinocchio a classic are the ones most frequently changed. Defining "classic" as it pertains to children's literature is no easy task: who, after all, has the final say—publishers, teachers, librarians, parents, or children? Without trying to be overly specific, we will assume that Pinocchio should be judged by the same standards that one would apply to adult fiction, with the added requirement that children must be able to understand and enjoy it.
It is, after all, a novel rather than a picture book or collection of rhymes, and it has had success with both children and adults especially Italian adults. What, then, should one demand of a novel that can be read to and by children and that can also be appreciated by an adult audience?
We suggest three criteria. First, a classic should be read—though one could certainly argue that if everyone stopped reading Hamlet it would nonetheless remain a classic. Second, a classic should be stylistically rich. Its characters, imagery, and symbols should allow for parallel interpretations at different levels of meaning and for different audiences.
It should offer some surprises upon being reread. Third, a classic, whether for children or adults, should address itself to fundamental human concerns, so that it will have lasting and universal appeal. It does not matter that adult readers might more completely understand a work's themes, as long as these themes are accessible to young readers or listeners. Pinocchio is about the difficulties inherent in becoming a responsible human being: what could be more important a subject than this?
Popularity is probably the least important criterion; what is best is not necessarily popular. But Pinocchio is very popular indeed. After appearing serially in an Italian children's magazine from to , L'avventure di Pinocchio was released in book form in , was by all accounts an instant success, and had gone through several printings by the time Collodi died in Its popularity has never waned, and the book and its title character are national treasures.
In Italy the book is a classic; though a story for children, it is by no means viewed merely as a children's story. It was not available again until the first North American printing, for the Christmas season. Pinocchio made it big in the United States after It was released at least eighty times new editions, reprints, and reissues from through These included three new translations, one of which was reprinted several times by Ginn for use in the public school elementary grades.
As advertisements and other material make clear, by Pinocchio was as familiar and perhaps as popular in the United States as in Italy. Its publishing heyday spanned the period between the wars, from through , after which adaptations that fundamentally revised the story and the imagery emerged and began displacing the original version. If interest on the part of publishers is an index to popularity or classic status, then Pinocchio qualifies easily. In the United States alone there appeared at one time or another fifteen different translations and six revisions or modifications of older translations, as well as a host of abridgements and condensations as distinct from adaptations, which fundamentally alter the text ; and our research shows that its printing record is much greater than standard references suggest.
In addition, the book has been translated into virtually every western language and into almost all major eastern languages as well. Only a classic is likely to generate this much interest from publishers and readers. Another measure of popularity is critical interest. Pinocchio has attracted considerable attention, though much more in Italy than on this side of the Atlantic.
While there is only a small corpus of criticism in English, Italian critics of the eminence of Benedetto Croce have long regarded the book as worthy of commentary. The Italian-American critic Glauco Cambon asserts that Pinocchio is one of the three most influential books in Italian The recent centennial of the book did much to whet the appetites of North American critics; we can only hope that the interest continues. In any case, Pinocchio, in one guise or another, has enjoyed enormous popularity since it reached the New World at the turn of the century—enough popularity to make it a potential classic.
It fulfills that potential on the grounds of literary excellence. Collodi is a fine storyteller, well versed in the devices of oral and written literature. It is not easy for an author to pay strict attention to his or her craft when facing the pressures of serial publication; any reader of Dickens can find an occasional chapter that is the product of an artistically barren month. Pinocchio too has its inconsistencies; overall, though, it is well crafted.
The style is light and appealing, the characters memorable, the imagery vivid, and the symbolism suggestive. Young audiences may miss some of the subtlety, but the book can certainly speak to them. Characterization is the story's most striking feature. Pinocchio the wayward quasi-child, Geppetto the loving but sometimes helpless father, the Blue Fairy and the Cricket, and the scoundrels too—all have become part of our culture.
There are few children who do not know the puppet whose nose grows. Norman Budgey suggests that " Pinocchio has become a classic because its characters are true for all times and all places" The characters are easy to visualize; perhaps this is why there have been so many plays and films based on the book. Indeed, character is the subject of the book; it is a Bildungsroman about the development of Pinocchio's character. Collodi often speaks directly to his readers. When his imagined audience guesses incorrectly that the story will be about a king, he says, "No children, you are wrong.
There was once upon a time a piece of wood" This technique is often repeated. The storyteller is always present, controlling the rhythm of the language and action, as when he interjects, "Poor Blackbird! If only he had not spoken! Sometimes the voice interprets, which has annoyed some readers, but the author does give the puppet-turned-boy the last word of the novel. One of the book's main pleasures is its humor: the famous nose-growing passages, the flight of the puppet's breakfast in chapter five, and the frequent manifestations of his gullibility are all cases in point.
There are also humorous ironies, such as the puppet's being forced to serve as a watch dog after having been caught stealing. No one who appreciates Collodi's humor could take offense at the irreverent Pinocchio parody featuring Carl Reiner as Geppetto that aired on a cable television network's Fairie Tale Theatre. Illustrators and film makers have loved to work with Pinocchio because the novel's imagery cries out for pictorial representation.
This is a visual book. Collodi is especially fond of juxtaposing light and dark. Three major scenes occur in darkness—the infernal storm of chapter six, the attempted murder by the Fox and the Cat, and the coach trip to the Land of Blockheads. These shadowy scenes contrast with the threatening fires that light up the reader's imagination: the puppet burns his feet off, he is almost used as firewood, he is nearly burnt alive by the assassins, and he comes close to being fried over the Green Fisherman's cooking fire.
Collodi takes pains with details, too, such as the passages describing the Fox and Cat's feast at the Red Crawfish or the ungainly appearance of Pinocchio in his makeshift homemade wardrobe. He also knows when not to supply details: he dismisses in a scant paragraph the particulars of Pinocchio's important but doubtless mundane year at school on the Island of Industrious Bees. While it is true that the best of Pinocchio 's illustrators have given children a way to know the story better, these artists had a good deal of help from the sight-conscious author.
Other senses are not ignored—the Cat's repetitive whining and the enticing aroma of the Fisherman's seafood repast are examples—but visual images are the most important. Pinocchio is a symbolically rich novel. Children can easily comprehend the novel's surface symbols, the most obvious of which are the puppet's status as a woodenhead and his various metamorphoses into animals.
His behavior as a puppet clearly contrasts with that which one would expect from a real boy; consequently, young readers are sure to know that puppethood represents a state of poor judgment. The same holds true for Pinocchio's figurative transformation into a watchdog, or his literal change into a donkey. Children may be less likely to catch the way in which Collodi orchestrates images and symbols. For example, he foreshadows the watchdog episode two chapters earlier, when he shows us Pinocchio digging in the ground like a dog as he searches for the lost gold pieces he had buried in the Field of Miracles: "Pinocchio remained with his mouth open, and not choosing to believe the Parrot's words he began with his hands and nails to dig up the earth that he had watered" Careful readers will see that Pinocchio was on his way to becoming a dog even before he stole the grapes.
The canine images come together when the grateful dog Alidoro saves the batter-dipped puppet from the Green Fisherman's frying pan. Be- cause Pinocchio acted with nobility when he saved Alidoro from drowning, he is entitled to be saved by the dog. Dogs can be dogs, but puppets who would be boys must do better than to behave like animals. Collodi's symbolism draws on many sources outside the novel. Children are not likely to appreciate many of them, but they will not stand in their way of enjoying the story.
For the adult reader, they are a treasure. Take, for example, the hundred year old Cricket—why a cricket? Here Collodi borrows from the Florentine Festa del Grillo. On the Feast of the Ascension, children carry caged crickets through the streets. Their chirping fills the air, an auditory symbol of Christ's return to heaven.
Does this allusion make the Cricket a divine spokesman, or does it at least amplify his message? This symbolic allusiveness has tantalized many readers. Is the Fairy the Madonna, as some have claimed, or is she the archetype of the lost mother? Do the Fox, Cat, and Gorilla judge represent the evils of capitalism? Does Pinocchio's descent from puppet to watchdog to donkey and his subsequent rise to boyhood parallel the descent and resurrection of Christ or the underworld sojourns of Odysseus, Aeneas, or Dante? Authors of various articles have made all of these claims and more.
The illustrators of Pinocchio have also eagerly discovered symbols in the text. No one who studies the Mussino color drawings is likely to miss the sacramental overtones that some have found in the puppet's restoration to health at the Fairy's magical hands. Mussino depicts the cup of medicine as a chalice and the sugar as a communion wafer.
Roland Topor's illustrations in the Italian language edition by Olivetti are highly suggestive. Inside the front and back covers, the Fairy, a Mona Lisa quasi-smile on her face, lies astride Pinocchio's extended nose.
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- The Pinocchio Theory – "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." — Bootsy Collins.
Freudians take heart: the sexual implications of the puppet's pole-like nose have not gone unnoticed, for instance in Jerome Charyn's bizarre novel for adults, Pinocchio's Nose Arbor House, In fact, the nose growing phenomenon, which occurs only twice in the thirty-six chapter novel, is hardly ever omitted from adapted versions and is in large measure the book's trademark.
Its phallic associations make it an excellent symbol of youthful rebellion. It is not necessary that every reader find or even tolerate all of these symbols; what is important is that many adult readers have returned to the novel and found surprises that they might not have imagined earlier. So our first two conditions are met: Pinocchio is both popular and well crafted. But craftsmanship highlights meaning only where there is meaning. What then is the novel's meaning, and why have editors trivialized it through truncation and adaptation?
For nearly forty years this view was rejected by publishers, playwrights, and film makers who wanted to stress the magical aspects of childhood at the expense of any attempt at psychological realism. In making these changes, the adaptors were not attempting to alter society's concepts of children, childhood, and adults; they were merely reflecting popular concepts that had emerged gradually after World War I. Sensitive to the shift away from psychological realism, purveyors of children's entertainment not only altered Pinocchio, but turned out a raft of books and films embodying this newer, more restricted, view of what children were fit to know.
It is no accident that the re-emergence such as it has been of Collodi's original images has coincided with the arrival of such writers as Maurice Sendak, Judy Blume , and Louise Fitzhugh, for their view of childhood as a time of discovery and ferment is closer to Collodi's than to that of Pinocchio 's adaptors. Pinocchio has been so frequently altered that one has to wonder whether North Americans do actually regard the real novel as a classic, or whether it is one or more of the reformed versions they revere. As realism comes to the forefront in children's books, ironically, Pinocchio might be found wanting precisely because falsified versions that downplay its realism dominate the public mind.
It is disturbing to us that so many of the elementary school teachers and librarians we have met have based their impressions of the novel on an acquaintance with a reformulated book, film or play. The fact that all of this has come to pass clearly suggests that, at various points along the way, those responsible for selecting what children read did have serious objections to Collodi's original. We have encountered a variety of objections, in print, in correspondence with writers and critics, and in classroom conversations; furthermore, the pattern of changes in the original text that has emerged suggests that these are the problems that adaptors were trying to rectify.
If Pinocchio is to be considered a classic, then these objections must be refuted. The first two charges are untrue, and the third is open to serious doubt. The puppet is the victim of mistaken identity twice-fold. Plays and adaptations often rewrite both character and theme so as to emphasize the evils of selfishness. Pinocchio is confused with these counterfeits, which are indeed guilty of these charges. But a more subtle process is also at work. Readers exposed to the counterfeits come to the original with a preconceived notion of what it is about. This phenomenon, known as selective perception, distorts readers' responses.
The charge that Collodi's novel is about selfishness stems from a confusion of selfishness with egocentricity. The novel is devoted to a crucial life issue: the transition from childhood to young adulthood. Furthermore, it assures both its child and adult readers that despite what tribulations may occur, the transition will take place.
Pinocchio displays egocentricity and it is that natural attribute of childhood that he must outgrow. Egocentricity is literally self-centeredness, an inability to see beyond oneself or to care about the consequences of one's actions, whether they affect oneself or others. This is what makes Pinocchio so frustrating a charge for his mentors to handle: he does not see and he does not care. Egocentricity is not motivational but maturational.
Proper guidance and years of social interaction are needed in order for the young egoist to look beyond himself and to consider his own and others' welfare. In contrast, selfishness, as displayed by the Fox and Cat, is motivational. It is the deliberate manipulation or preclusion of others to satisfy one's own desires. Selfishness is despicable; egocentricity is infuriating but natural. Throughout the book Collodi tells us that Pinocchio is not bad, but that he just cannot see the consequences of acts: for example, there is some doubt as to whether the puppet actually intended to kill the Cricket.
Furthermore, he demonstrates to us that overcoming this inability is a developmental process replete with backsliding, recovery, and still more backsliding. Pinocchio becomes a real boy which, in the context of the book, means a young adult when he transcends egocentricity and recognizes the feelings and needs of others. This transformation does not diminish the self by making Pinocchio a mere puppet responding to the whims of others; rather, it magnifies the self and liberates Pinocchio from puppethood by promoting him to near-equal status with the book's responsible adults, Geppetto and the Blue Fairy.
We submit that the emphasis on egocentricity rather than selfishness is actually much healthier for young readers. Versions which have punished Pinocchio for selfishness miss the point. He rarely suffers because someone punishes him: he usually gets into trouble because he is willful and inexperienced. Since his inexperience is exaggerated to comic proportions, children can take pride in believing that they could not make the same mistakes as does the woodenhead. Once again, the puppet is falsely charged. According to this reading, what Pinocchio achieves is not adulthood but the "proper" role of the child in a restrictive family structure.
He sacrifices love of self for love of family, thus suppressing his individuality and subordinating it to the needs of the all powerful family unit. Pinocchio meets our third criterion for classic status by treating a fundamental human theme—the trials and tribulations of attaining responsible young adulthood. It is a Bildungsroman ; Pinocchio must learn to make informed choices based on reason and experience. The block of wood from which the puppet is carved is a metaphorical tabula rasa on which life will inscribe hard and humorous lessons. The novel celebrates the good heart, whether found in children or adults, for it is such a heart that will come to cherish the values Collodi celebrates: love, patience, filial piety, honest labor, and a sense of mutual interdependence tempered by the ability to judge character shrewdly.
Furthermore, as we showed in "Death and Rebirth in Pinocchio, " the novel's allusiveness suggests that the author sees his puppet as a hero albeit an amusing one in the classical and Christian traditions. It is difficult to discuss the novel's meaning without considering why it has been so frequently altered. As we demonstrate in "The Desecration of Pinocchio in the United States" and in our forthcoming catalog, editorial meddling has proceeded in several discernible stages.
The adapted school versions beginning in stressed the book's ethical message to the point at which it became blatant didacticism. During the late nineteen-thirties, but especially after the Disney film, Collodi's hero changes from recalcitrant but redeemable brat to cute innocent. His passionate Geppetto, a man who cannot avoid an occasional fist fight, becomes a white-haired, all sacrificing saint. Since the late nineteen-sixties, fortunately, publishers of adapted versions have tended to produce editions that more accurately reflect Collodi's view of chil-. For him, children are proto-adults whose goal is to grow up.
There is time for fun in childhood like reading Pinocchio, for example , but maturation under responsible guidance is the key to becoming a worthwhile adult. Adults, even the good ones like Geppetto, are less than perfect, but they do the best they can. In the original, the puppet is transformed when he completes acts of self-sacrifice which demonstrate that he has learned the three crucial aspects of adulthood: he learns that his behavior has an impact on others, he becomes concerned about that potential impact, and, putting himself in the place of others, he becomes concerned for their well being.
This awareness enables him to perform his three great acts of heroism—saving the non-swimmer Geppetto from the shark, working long hours to support his ailing father, and sacrificing his meagre savings to help the Fairy, who he believes to be dying in the hospital. Pinocchio is not necessarily a better person when he does these things, but he is certainly an older one.
Evidence for this rests in the fact that each of the above mentioned acts represents a role reversal: Geppetto helped Pinocchio when he could not yet walk, he sacrificed his material goods for his son, and the Fairy nursed him in her own magic hospital. He has, then, become like his mentors in that he recognizes the dependence of others, precisely the relationship of adults to children. He is no blind do-gooder either, for he denies charity to the Fox and Cat because they deserve to be destitute.
It is true that obedience is stressed, but not blind obedience. Pinocchio must learn to discriminate among various counselors, some good, some bad. The Fox and Cat are obvious scoundrels whose advice is to be shunned. But even symbols of what one might call legitimate adult authority are not above suspicion. Good examples are the Gorilla Judge and the book's endless parade of muddleheaded policemen. There is also the Green Fisherman, who is too stupid to figure out that the puppet is not a fish. Collodi himself was an independent sort, who flouted authority by writing political satire.
Surely these examples of adult buffoonery are satirical, and help to show that just because an authority figure is older does not mean that he or she should be obeyed without question. If Pinocchio is to grow up, he must learn to make choices; simply acting according to orders cannot prepare him to handle emergent crises. It would be easier to argue that the novel is subversive than that it preaches dull obedience. There are several aspects to the violence in the story.
First, there is the violence done to Pinocchio. He is stabbed, hanged, burned, and nearly drowned. At every step of the way, however, Collodi's intrusive narrative voice reminds readers that the victim is a puppet who does not experience pain the same way that real people do. Second, there is the larger issue of whether children should be exposed to violence at all. They are, of course, every day. One thing that children's fiction can do is to present violence in an understandable and non-threatening way.
Collodi acknowledges the existence of violence and uses it for dramatic and thematic purposes. Thus, what befalls Pinocchio is both stylized and thematically important. Third, there is the fact that so much of the evil that the puppet suffers comes at the hands of adults. He is taunted by schoolfellows but he is nearly killed by adults. The sad fact is that this is the way things are in reality, and children know it. They simultaneously look up to and fear adults.
Once again, Collodi legitimates these fears and gives them an acceptable outlet. Finally, there is the violence committed by the pup- pet himself. It is always heedless and never thoroughly malicious; it is the result of the egocentricity discussed earlier, and he transcends it. Overall, the violence in the novel is nothing compared to the mayhem on Saturday morning cartoon shows. Pinocchio conforms to the Renaissance belief that art should teach and delight. In this sense it is didactic. The story is not merely the vehicle for a lesson, nor is it devoid of ethical concerns.
The question is whether it is too blatantly didactic. When it first appeared in Italy and North America it was hailed as a refreshing change from nineteenth-century didacticism, though subsequent adaptors took care of that. The narrator does interpret events and does provide morals at the end of episodes, but the greatest lessons the book has to offer—that growing up takes a lot of work and that the good hearted child is worthy of the task—are not simple ones.
Rather, they unfold slowly and require of the reader close attention to the structure and symbolism of the novel as a whole. Certainly Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is didactic too, in that it teaches in a thoroughly delightful way that the life of the mind is the greatest refuge and tool children have for coping with the strange world into which they have been born.
Regardless of what has been done to the novel in North America, its greatness rests largely on its thematic scope. Pinocchio's actions are often comically foolish, but when they are heroic he demonstrates the best qualities that any child, or human being for that matter, can possess. Collodi's concerns are not simple-minded but momentous. Considering whether or not The Adventures of Pinocchio is a classic raises complex questions; nothing short of the sociology of childhood and the premises upon which literature is judged are at stake. But the very fact that thinking about the book provokes such investigations means that it probably is an important work.
As well as being popular, well crafted, and philosophically significant, Pinocchio is a book to which one can return again and again with new questions, and hope to find new answers for them. For all those reasons it is a classic, a touchstone for children's literature. Citations in this essay refer to The Adventures of Pinocchio, trans.
Murray New York: Airmont, The other readily available decent translation is that of C. Della Chiesa. Several acceptable translations are those of E. Harden, J. McIntyre, M. Rosenthal, and G. Tassinari based on Murray. Two very common versions which we judge to be poor are those of W. Cramp and J. Existing catalog sources do not adequately portray the number of editions, reprints, and reissues of Pinocchio in translation, especially for the period prior to To rectify this, we have spent several years developing a descriptive bibliographic catalog, which we hope will be available soon.
Bacon, Martha. Virginia Haviland. Budgey, Norman E. Introduction to The Adventures of Pinocchio, trans. New York: Airmont Books, Cambon, Glauco. Gerard J. Detroit: Gale Research Company, Heins, Paul. Heisig, James W. Merriam, Eve. Morrissey, Thomas J. Review of Pinocchio's Nose. Children's Literature Association Quarterly 9 Summer : Sale, Roger. Van Doren, Carl. Wunderlich, Richard, and Morrissey, Thomas J. Perella, pp. Berkeley, Calif. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child: when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Astoundingly, psychology turns to the child in order to understand the adult, blaming adults for not enough of the child or for too many remnants of the child still left in adulthood. The brief tale that has made Carlo Lorenzini's pseudonym and the name of his puppet household words was written between July and January , during which time it appeared serially and sporadically in the Giornale per i bambini —one of Italy's first periodicals for children.
The appeal of Collodi's puppet has proven to be universal, but of especial interest is Giuseppe Prezzolini's remark, in , that " Pinocchio is the testing ground for foreigners; whoever understands the beauty of Pinocchio, understands Italy. It is also true, however, that no other work of Italian literature can be said to approach the popularity Pinocchio enjoys beyond Italy's linguistic frontiers, where its only rivals—but only among cultivated readers and scholars—are The Divine Comedy and The Prince.
Despite its popularity, Pinocchio is not understood as well as it deserves to be, at least in Prezzolini's sense—that is, as an expression of the Italian character. For outside Italy Collodi's tale is still taken almost exclusively as a story for children, who, though unlikely to miss the didactic message the author meant for them, are hardly capable of fully appreciating the tale's underlying linguistic sophistication and narrative strategy, its various levels of irony and sociocultural innuendo, or its satirical thrusts against adult society.
Nor do the numerous translations or rifacimenti indicate much awareness of these nonchildish features; such versions are so monolithically reductive that most non-Italian adults are unlikely to suspect the book's subtleties and multifaceted context. But Prezzolini's early remark is clearly intended to call our attention to the virtues of Pinocchio as a book for adults, a point upon which he expands fifty years later in an aphoristic pocket history of Italian literature.
There, in an appended paragraph, Prezzolini singles out two works that, although outside Italy's primary and almost exclusively elitist literary tradition, seem to him so representative of the spirit of the Italian "people" as to merit special attention:. There are two books that I would say have neither a date nor an author, although both the one and the other are known. Pinocchio is a book given to children to read, but it is full of a citified wisdom, worldly and adult, that shows the world as it is—led not by virtue but by fortune guided by astuteness.
Whoever would understand Italy should read these two books—the one a key of gold, the other a key of iron—that permit entry into the spirit of Italians. It is clear from this that Prezzolini not only sees Pinocchio as a book for adults, but that he also sees in it a Machiavellian vision of the world.
The question remains whether that is enough to make it a key to understanding the national Italian character, a concept no less elusive and multiform than the Italian national language. Independently of Prezzolini, and in a quite different way, Pinocchio has in recent years been appropriated by the Italian intelligentsia, a radical reversal of the more common circumstance in which a book originally intended for adults becomes a favorite of children or juvenile readers. In response to the recent flood of comparisons between Collodi's puppet and heroes or antiheroes—including Ulysses, Aeneas, Christ, and Dante the wayfarer to Don Quijote, Candide, Renzo of Manzoni's Promessi sposi —and the scores of interpretations and claims made by specialists whose interests range from the sociopolitical, the psychoanalytical, and the mythopoetic to the philosophical, the theological, and the generically allegorical, one is tempted to cry out a recurrent phrase from Collodi's little book—"Poor Pinocchio!
Consequently, one can rightfully be attracted to the view of yet another recent editor of the story who observes that anyone undertaking to write a fable for children cannot be sure of where he may be led. While the author may consciously be engaged only in the invention of witty sayings or amusing adventures, the ancient, mysterious spirit of Fable takes possession of him and involves him with the spirits of air and wood, with the images of the Father and the Mother, with adventures of death and rebirth, with the problematics of sin and redemption.
It is not necessary to think that Collodi was consciously writing a fable or an allegory in the manner of Kafka's stories or Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in order to feel that his tale reveals something more than first meets the eye. Collodi frequently and deliberately echoes a wide range of literary and cultural traditions: from the classics of antiquity to fairy tales and romantic operatic libretti, from the most popular forms of folk and popular art and literature, including the Aesopian apologue, to the Bible, Dante, Voltaire, and Manzoni.
Critics are not mistaken in finding parallels between this most fortunate of Italy's minor classics and works of vaster critical fame and scope. Along with the many literary and cultural allusions, the text also offers a rich catalogue of archetypal patterns and images. This will put the reader in mind of the Green Fisherman, who draws up his net and is elated to find a bounty of various fish; but the net also contains Pinocchio, whom he takes to be a crab.
In Italian this suggests an irony depending on a play on words, for "to catch a crab" prendere un granchio means to make a blunder. With some help from a dog he has befriended, Pinocchio will manage to escape, just in the nick of time, the fate of the fish. So too will Collodi's work continue to defy and elude any single or reductive interpretation.
Though this marionette is hewn out of a single piece of wood, he and Collodi's tale are not all of a piece. The fault is in great part Collodi's, but in great part it is a fortunate fault. Like Charles Perrault, whose sophisticated fairy tales he had translated in a colorful Tuscan-flavored prose that anticipates the style of Pinocchio, Collodi frequently winks at his adult readers, the parents, counting on them as accomplices in a pedagogic strategy aimed at inculcating in children a particular behavior.
Whatever else may be said of it, The Adventures of Pinocchio is an exemplary family drama that, though told with unique verve and inventiveness, follows the nineteenth-century pattern of children's stories in serving as a vehicle of social instruction and, it would seem, of character building in the name of a productive, middle-class ethic. Indeed, the particular relevance of nineteenth-century children's literature to Collodi's Italy compels us to situate Pinocchio in its historical and cultural context.
When Collodi was writing his masterpiece, Italy was in the precarious childhood of its modern existence as a unified country under a single monarch. But far from being the Italia felix of the nostalgic mythmakers, its problems were immense and, in the final analysis, beyond the solutions of its ruling classes.
Chief among the problems was the need to provide education for the children of both the bourgeoisie and the appallingly poor masses. Of course, even be- fore actual unification in if one waits for Venice and Rome to become part of Italy , during the years known as the Risorgimento, when Italians struggled for freedom from the governments of the several independently ruled states of the peninsula, signs of social awareness were evident in periodicals and novels.
At the beginning of this period of heightened social and political consciousness stands Alessandro Manzoni 's new kind of historical novel, grounded in a profound ethical realism, I promessi sposi The Betrothed, In choosing a humble working-class couple as his protagonists and in setting them against and within the grave historical events of seventeenth-century Lombardy, Manzoni swept away the elitist prejudice of both high literature and history, which had traditionally concentrated attention on the "important" figures.
Literary elitism was further jarred by his use of a nonaristocratic lexicon and a nonclassicizing syntax appropriate to his protagonists and to everyday contemporary reality. Moreover, Manzoni, a Lombard, deliberately chose as the language for his novel a Tuscan-based colloquial idiom—that of Florence—a choice predicated on two beliefs. First, Manzoni thought that the Florentine tongue purged of its most extreme dialectal elements was the language most readily accessible to literate Italians in all regions of the peninsula; second, he felt that linguistic unity could be a cohesive force in the cause of national unity, and he hoped his work would give "Italy" a model of a national language.
At the close of this period, during the s and the uncertain aftermath of unification, stand the stark narrative masterpieces of Giovanni Verga, in particular the novel I Malavoglia , which depicts the bitter and desperate struggle for survival of a family of fishing folk in a remote Sicilian village. In turning to a reality and to protagonists even humbler than Manzoni's, Verga, a Sicilian, wrote his experimental novel using the lexicon of the "national" language within the syntactical modes of a "dialect" of his native island.
Besides being an obligatory touchstone in any discussion of modern Italian narrative, I Malavoglia, like I promessi sposi, shares important thematic elements with Collodi's tale. Meanwhile, during the decades spanned by the two novels, educators and writers of children's literature were concerned with creating a unifying social and national consciousness in the young, as reflected in the ever-increasing number of journals for parents and educators and a plethora of books for children.
But this aim required them to face the problem of the poor, which, as Dina Bertoni-Jovine notes, so troubled the conscience of the liberals that it was present in their every act and statement.
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To find a compensatory comfort for the poor and to instill a sense of social responsibility in the poor and the middle class alike by appealing to the values inherent in moral principles, religion, and civic concern was the basic purpose, even when not overtly stated, of children's literature. During the heroic years of the Risorgimento, Collodi had fought in the field as a volunteer with republican principles. His checkered literary career throughout those years and until included work as a journalist, a theater and opera critic, and a writer of literary caricatures, sketches, and some not very successful comedies.
Only after the unification did he try his hand at children's literature, first by translating the fairy tales of Charles Perrault and a selection of those of Mme D'Aulnoy and Mme Leprince de Beaumont, then in a series of books of scholastic intent and use that won him a sizable reputation. Of these, Giannettino and Minuzzolo were written shortly before Pinocchio, while others were written during the almost fortuitous and drawn-out writing of his masterpiece.
Although they have a story line of sorts and include the figures of live children, these are unequivocally "schoolbooks," with child protagonists who ask questions for the purpose of being instructed. Narrative line is also subordinate to cultural and educational content in the sequels to Giannettino, although the narration is not without its lively moments.
Surely, these child protagonists, Giannettino above all, have enough of the scamp about them to be precursors of Pinocchio, but so different is Pinocchio that it can almost be mistaken for a polemical anti-schoolbook, though it was certainly written, primarily, for schoolchildren. Perhaps Collodi's scholastic books are best exemplified by Edmondo De Amicis's Cuore, which appeared in , just three years after Pinocchio was completed, and was soon translated into English as A Boy's Heart.
Cuore and Pinocchio remain the most popular books that Italy has produced for children. Indeed, although Cuore has gone into eclipse in recent decades, for the first fifty years after its publication it enjoyed a success far greater than that of Collodi's little classic. While this programmatically scholastic, character-building text seems nothing other than a book for children, its stunning interna- tional editorial success suggests that adult readers found in it a gratifying presentation of those middle-class values and ideals that transcend nationalistic antagonisms.
Cuore itself is not an instructional text of the traditional kind, yet it is so much a schoolbook that its main setting is an elementary school classroom and its main character a third-grader whose diary records the events of the school year, including the monthly edifying stories dictated by a schoolteacher who is a champion of interclass harmony. Intended to illustrate the idea that heroism, patriotism, sacrifice, and love of family know neither age nor social barriers, the stories take for their protagonists children from Italy's various regions and classes.
In this way, the privileged child of the bourgeoisie can learn from the child belonging to the less-fortunate economic strata. De Amicis would like the middle class to be "better," but he is careful not to discredit it. Cuore 's ultimate purpose is to invite the inhabitants of Italy's distinctly different regions to a national and fraternal solidarity.
Moreover, the prevailing spirit in Cuore is not idyllic; rather, like Pinocchio, it depicts an encounter with contemporary reality that is dramatic and even traumatic, a feature that sets both books apart from most of the preceding tradition of Italian children's literature, in which painful encounters with reality tended to be underplayed or avoided. In making this important point, Alberto Asor Rosa notes that such traumatic encounters are inherent in any true story of initiation and character development.
Poverty never appears as an unmitigable condition in his pages, where the middle-class gentry stands ready to assist the needy by way of charity and good works. The farthest De Amicis goes is to try to awaken in middle-class children an awareness of the unhappy condition in which the poor live. To see how limited his vision is, one need only read the page on which Enrico's mother explains to him that starving beggars prefer to receive alms from children rather than from grown-ups because then they do not feel humiliated.
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Besides, she says, it is good to give the destitute something, because then they bless us, which is bound to stir in us a feeling of meltingly sweet gratitude. Although not all the boys in Cuore 's classroom are Good Good Boys, only one, Franti, represents a serious threat and offense to their fierce virtue. Franti, who derides all that is good, noble, and pathetic, shoots paper arrows at the timid substitute teacher, bullies his smaller classmates, steals when he can, lies with a bold face, laughs at disabled soldiers or at the motionless form of a worker who has fallen from the fifth floor, and is even able, alas, to smirk at the schoolmaster's moving account of the funeral of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first monarch of a unified Italy.
As the type of the Bad Bad Boy who will be the death, quite literally, of his mother, he is appropriately labeled infame infamous and malvagio wicked , a foil to the chorus of Good Good Boys and a reminder to them of the sort of wicked person who is best dealt with by being detested and removed from society.
And although both didactic tales advocate post-Risorgimento ideals of honesty, family, and the work ethic , all under a paternalistic cloak, in Pinocchio, unlike Cuore, these values are not connected with God and fervent patriotism; nor does Collodi make any appeal, sentimental or otherwise, to a solidarity of the classes. And although he will bring his willful puppet to heel, he does not spare adult society. Thus, while Cuore now strikes us as outdated, Pinocchio has never seemed more vital.
The irony of Collodi's Good Bad Boy is that even from the author's somewhat ambiguous point of view, Pinocchio's serious shortcoming is his effort to run away from adulthood, a social and psychological status that his apparently prepubescent age alone in no way barred him from attaining. They immediately went straight into the great community of man, sharing in the work and play of their companions, old and young alike.
The Latins begin to relax, to breathe, really to live only when they have reached man's estate. Before that they are merely growing, a process that the Latin children themselves finish gladly. In nineteenth-century Italy, thus, the child—the child of the poor, at any rate—was not perceived as belonging to a world inviolably apart from the world of grown-ups. Collodi, while not himself a member of the most destitute classes, chose a child of poverty as his protagonist, and he would have the child be a diminutive adult or an adult-in-the-making.
Though born of a poor family, Collodi had the rare advantage of an education, supported first by the Marquis Lorenzo Ginori, in whose employ his father was a hard-working cook, and later by a maternal uncle. He seems to have chafed considerably throughout his school years, revealing a desire for freedom and an independence of spirit that marked his character ever after. This may explain some of the nostalgia for childhood that the adult reader senses in Pinocchio, despite the impression the story often gives that there is no such thing as the innocence of childhood, that children have no rights, only duties summed up under the word obedience.
The child protagonists of Collodi's other books—the scholastic texts—are close cousins of the virtuous schoolchildren of De Amicis's Cuore, distinguished mostly by the unruliness they share with Pinocchio, although Collodi's treatment of their misbehavior is somewhat forced or mechanical. The puppet's unruliness, in contrast, seems so natural and so pronounced a trait that it serves as the basis for a much more dramatic encounter with the real world—an uncompromisingly egotistical world in which kindness is the exception, not to be banked on outside the formulaic "One good turn deserves another.
Seen in its historical context, the latter proverb is not merely a cynical slogan justifying the consciences of the greedy and the successful, be they bourgeois or peasant. Rather it is the root exhortation found in popular educational literature of the time—an urgent call to all Italians to better themselves and, thereby, their "nation. In this sense above all Cuore was so suited to its times. De Amicis propagandized the idea of school as having a great threefold mission—social, political, affective—and therefore as being the place, along with the home, where Italians were to be formed.
His optimistic representation of school, complemented by the interwoven story of an equally idealized bourgeois family home, made for his book's huge success.