Fairy tales, children’s books and schools in Sweden and Italy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Historical comparisons and pedagogical remarks

William Grandi


This paper examines some historical parallels in the field of children’s literature and education between Sweden and Italy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Sweden and Italy are at the opposite ends of Europe, but they exhibited some interesting similarities in children’s book and pedagogy during those decades. Suffice it to say that two of the most important European education experts of the time – the Swede Ellen Key and the Italian Maria Montessori – were in relationship, appreciated each other’s work and exchanged ideas and remarks on educational and social issues. Parallels cannot obscure the large differences between the two nations, but there were also convergences that must be examined: researches on folktales, mass education and education of the élite were important issues in both countries. Moreover the convergences will intensify further in the coming decades, because Sweden and Italy belong to the same European context.


Ellen Key; children’s literature; history of education; Sweden; Italy

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1970-2221/4362

Copyright (c) 2014 William Grandi

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