Francesca Billiani | Aesthetic Censorship? Readers’ Reports from Fascist Italy


This article discusses the complex and ambivalent nature of book censorship of translations in Italy during the fascist period, from the point of view of the publishing industry. By not understanding censorship as a merely top-down phenomenon and by adopting Michel Foucault’s notion of Panopticism, it assesses the extent to which readers’ demands and aesthetic preferences from ‘below’ could influence the censor’s final decision on what to publish. To this end, this article draws on unpublished primary material, such as the readers’ reports of the day, held in the archive of the biggest publishing house of the day, the Milanese Arnoldo Mondadori.

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