Oltre la casa: la luna come simbolo di ricerca identitaria

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Beyond the house: the moon as a symbol of identity research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Could an house be an affective refuge, if it is empty and without family relationships? In The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007), Hugo lives in an unadorned and provisional hiding place, not in an house. The surface of his normal life, because he is used to wind the clocks in the Paris railway station, is not his real identity. He is an orphan, similar to Dickens’ characters, he lives behind the large windows of the clocks but he always looks through the glass doors. In fact he wants to discover his own roots and to reconstruct his own identity. The door is a metaphor on the content level and on the narrative strategy level. The door separates the compression reality of daily life from the imaginary world of early silent films. What lies behind the door becomes what the reader finds turning the page of the book. Doors and windows disclose unusual places or objects. From the technical-narrative point of view they constitute the motor of the history and they capture the reader’s attention. The Selznick’s graphic novel introduces some new elements in the field of picturebooks through the transformation of literary aspects and iconic solutions adopted by writers and illustrators in the past. The evocative power of the pictures suggests Where the wild things are by M. Sendak (1963) and the transformation of the environment: an unadorned inside environment becomes luxuriant with a jungle inside. The imaginary power of the moon and the progressive focusing are present in Sendak and in Selznick too. At the opening of Selznick’ s picturebook the moon is faraway and unreachable, then it becomes a possible dream in A trip to the moon by G. Melies and a reproducible drawing by the mechanical robot. The picture of the moon by Melies, based on pictures by G. Dorè, is Hugo’s home. That moon is a symbol of paternal affective roots and an amorous glance toward the future. In this way the doors disappear.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Beyond the house: the moon as a symbol of identity research
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa casa. Figure, modelli e visioni nella letteratura per l'infanzia dal Novecento ad oggi
EditorsCarla Callegari, Marnie Campagnaro Giuseppe Zago
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series



  • Brian Selznick
  • Gustave Dore
  • Gustave Doré
  • Literary language
  • Maurice Sendak
  • Visual language
  • graphic novel
  • linguaggio letterario
  • linguaggio visivo


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