The publishing house

hopefulmonster is an independent publishing house, proudly detached from any mainstream logic, with a strongly characterised production of publications.

The name hopefulmonster derives from the neo-Darwinian theory of the German geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, later taken up by the American biologist Stephen Jay Gould. The so-called hopeful monsters are evolutionary leaps, intermediate steps, small monsters than then move on to their real nature. The reason for our adopting this name is the desire to create new ideas and creative forces. The logo of the publishing house is the union of the two letters h and m resting one on top of the other and inserted in a golden space.

The publishing house was founded in Florence in 1986, thanks to a greatly varied group of people. Beatrice Merz, the soul of hopefulmonster and of the Foundation that bears the name of her father Mario, had just edited some monographic volumes by contemporary artists. Thanks also to this work and the encounter with many fellow travellers, a passion for publishing was born.

After 35 years of history, hopefulmonster, which has been rooted in Turin for many years, builds on that tradition and reappears on the scene with a new corporate form, new cultural projects and new series that combine different literary genres. It proposes a new space for dialogue between very different authors and texts and in this way, picks up on the common thread underlying the origins of the publishing house and namely the will to study, know and interpret the world of today and contemporary culture, through the publication of philosophical, scientific and historical and political essays, with an eye always to artistic and literary expression. This particular attention to art, closely linked to the ownership and editorial direction of hopefulmonster, guarantees the cultural quality of the choice of texts, the care taken in the production of volumes and a marked international approach.

In addition to the historical catalogue, hopefulmonster today consists of five series plus a sixth micro series, dedicated to a specific project.

La stanza del mondo

La stanza del mondo or “The Room of the World” is the series by hopefulmonster edited by Paola Caridi, which opens a door without exclusion, allowing in intelligences needed to read the contemporary world. In the room, and therefore also in La stanza del mondo, one can find everything. Without the need to divide objects and knowledge. Considering the world as a room. A small place where everything is present. And through the light we can observe better the proportions, the details, the changes and breaks, the passing of time. The series will include all genres without distinction: essays, novels, short stories, experimental languages, polemics. Because a reflection on reality, the interpretation of the world, scientific observation, poetry sometimes find space in the same person and represents a single thread without wishing to separate and distinguish between science and humanities, non-fiction and works of invention.


Pennisole is the new hopefulmonster series, edited by Dario Voltolini. It is a series of paperbacks, in which writing – its quality – is the central pivot; it is a new space open to creativity and imagination, welcoming the varied and effervescent landscape of Italian fiction. In the suitcase-word there are pens, there is our beloved peninsula and there are also its wonderful islands. Pens that have, in this space, what we could call ‘prose freedom’, and that will propose texts very different from each other, sometimes even far from what that author usually writes in his or her professional activity.

La favola dell’arte

Thanks to the synergic encounter between the art of writing and the art of drawing at the service of fun and knowledge, the La favola dell’arte (Art Fables) series offers children a fabulous way to enter the world of art, thanks to the collaboration between contemporary artists and writers.

I Mostri Saggi

The series I Mostri Saggi was born from an Italian play on words, “mostri” (“monsters”) and “nostri” (“our”), which sound so similar in Italian, and from the question of the nature of the monster. From the Latin monstrum, “prodigy, portent”, it is something that does not exist, we reply, an artificial creation, a symbol of human intelligence: in fact, it does not inhabit nature but only our minds. Being with characteristics different from what constitutes the so-called “norm” can generate astonishment and fear. Good or bad, we are the ones who create it.
So here are our essays. They are creatures of the intellect, reflecting contours of society and culture, offering themselves to readers as spaces for reflection. Just as monsters never cease to
surprise us.


As the word itself says, the volumes collected in this series go beyond the book per se: they are almost objects that contain archives, historical materials, narratives, feelings and memories all together in each volume. They are geographical, historical books, where meetings and relationships are built around art, an artist, an exhibition or an artistic event. Each ultralibro is a world of its own.


Work in progress.

Monographic volumes, exhibition catalogues and writings by artists

Since its inception, hopefulmonster has followed an itinerary in which each publication not only presents itself as an independent instrument of investigation, but also as an integral part of artistic projects. Numerous museums with which the publishing house has collaborated over the years have accompanied the main exhibition events of the Fondazione Merz since 2005.

A book is a precious object; a book must speak a language. An art book tells the story of an artist, an exhibition, a creation and helps us to understand it. It is a support to history. It is the narration of states of growth and hope.


To complete the focus on contemporary art, a micro-series of small books has been added, produced during a cycle of 37 exhibitions hosted at the Botanical Garden of Palermo, and inspired by the 37 books of Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia which deals in an encyclopedic way with topics concerning man and nature.

Altri mostri

Altri mostri or “Other Monsters” is a special section of the publishing house, where you can find multimedia, audio and video publications, productions resulting from partnerships with other cultural institutions, e-books and media projects and films. Among the contents of Altri mostri is the DVD entitled Arte Povera, a film by Sergio Ariotti and Beatrice Merz, that retraces the fundamental stages of the famous movement, with a comprehensive look at the exponents of one of the most fruitful periods of international contemporary art.