In his 1927 "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism," Mussolini clearly states "this will be a century of authority, a century of the Left, a century of Fascism,"

Wondering if this is a real quote.


From Jane Soames’s authorized translation of Mussolini’s “The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism,” Hogarth Press, London, (1933), p. 20.[6] [7] Julius Evola reproduced the original Italian as "un secolo della 'Destra'" ("a century of the right"); see Evola, Fascismo e Terzo Reich.

It looks like Evola differed from the authorized translation.

It is also possible that there were multiple translations, like the official version published 8 years later in 1935.

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    Where did you find this image? We require notable claims, not just you posting an image. – DenisS Nov 7 '18 at 21:19
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    Also what is the context? Is he saying it to say the left = fascists? Is he saying that it will be the left vs the fascists? I've picked up some quotations from "The Doctrine of Fascism" and it doesn't seem like that's his conclusion at all. – DenisS Nov 7 '18 at 21:21
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    Did I miss something? I log in and see a question from a new contributor: he isn't being welcomed, instead he is bombarded with (partly off-topic) questions. I see a comment that is almost a carbon copy of one the examples of unacceptable behavior according to our Code of Conduct, I see 4 down votes and the only person bothered to comment didn't give any suggestions to improve the question. So once again, did I miss something? Because this doesn't strike me as the way we want to engage with new contributors. – Jordy Nov 8 '18 at 10:31
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    @Rekesoft, Skeptics has a similar policy, IIRC it is mostly used on questions regarding Holocaust denial. However, I see no smoking gun that indicates malicious intent. To be absolutely honest I also don't see a rant, so maybe I'm genuinely missing something. Anyway, I am glad to see that at least some comments got deleted. – Jordy Nov 8 '18 at 12:13
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    @Rekesoft I assumed good faith in initially answering this question; given the astonishing amount of quibbling over a very clear-cut answer, it's getting increasingly difficult to maintain that assumption :(. – Pont Nov 8 '18 at 18:42

Short answer: this is a mistranslation, and the original Italian contains the word ‘destra’ (meaning ‘right’) rather than ‘left’.

First, some background, since your comments indicate that there may be some uncertainty as to authorship and publication date of the article. I think the first paragraph of the English Wikipedia article sums it up nicely:

"The Doctrine of Fascism" (Italian: "La dottrina del fascismo") is an essay attributed to Benito Mussolini. In truth, the first part of the essay, entitled "Idee Fondamentali" (Italian for "Fundamental Ideas") was written by philosopher Giovanni Gentile, while only the second part ("Dottrina politica e sociale") is the work of Mussolini himself. It was first published in the Enciclopedia Italiana of 1932, as the first section of a lengthy entry on "Fascismo" (Italian for Fascism).

Thus, it should be noted that while the (purported) quotation was written by Mussolini in 1927, the earliest publication date is in 1932, and the only the second part of the article (from which your quotation is supposedly taken) is by Mussolini.

Wikisource has the entire text of this tract in the original Italian. Treccani also hosts an online text of the original 1932 encyclopedia article, in which (as the Wikipedia article mentions) Mussolini's essay is embedded. I cannot find your exact quotation within the text, but there is a very similar one:

Si può pensare che questo sia il secolo dell’autorità, un secolo di «destra», un secolo fascista...

This quotation occurs in Part 2, headed "Dottrina politica e sociale (di B. Mussolini, a cura di G. Gentile)" ("Political and social doctrine, by B. Mussolini, edited by G. Gentile"); it is thus clearly the work of Mussolini.

My translation of the Italian quotation:

One may think that this [i.e. the 20th century] is the century of authority, a century of ‘the right’, a fascist century...

Another translation, hosted at the the World Future Fund website, is transcribed from Mussolini's book Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions, (Rome: Ardita, 1935) an official Fascist government publication.

We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the "right", a Fascist century.

Fortunately Google Books has a snippet view of a scan of this publication, making it easy to check the accuracy of the transcription:

facsimile of text

In your comments below this answer, you seem to be expressing disbelief that this passage actually occurs in the Google facsimile; please consult this imgur gallery for larger screenshots of the two relevant snippets, and here is a link to a Google search for the phrase "a Fascist century" in the book, showing that it is preceded by the word "right".

The quotation you posted is thus close to the original, but has substituted "left" for the original "right". The origin of this mistranslation actually appears to be another authorized translation by Jane Soames published by the Hogarth Press, London, in 1933 (facsimile here), which contains your quote exactly:

... and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority, a century of the Left, a century of Fascism.

I have been unable to discover how or why Soames managed to mistranslate "destra" as "left", but it is clearly incorrect to say that Mussolini himself stated this, or that it was present in the 1927 Italian original.

From your comments it seems that you lay great weight on the fact that this mistranslation occurs in an authorized English translation, so maybe it's worth mentioning what the term ‘authorized’ actually denotes: it simply means that the translation was done with the permission of the copyright holder. It doesn't confer any magical aura of perfection on the translation, and authorized translations, like any other translations, may be excellent, hopeless, or anywhere in between. For example, here's Arthur B. Evans summing up the quality of the authorized translations of Jules Verne:

In a rush to bring his most popular (and profitable) stories to market, British and American translators repeatedly watered them down and abridged them by chopping out most of the science and the longer descriptive passages… they committed thousands of basic translating errors, mistakes that an average high-school student of French would have managed correctly; they censored Verne’s texts by either removing or diluting references that might be construed as anti-British or anti-American; and, in several instances, they totally rewrote Verne’s narratives to suit their own tastes (changing the names of the characters, adding new scenes, deleting others, relabeling the chapters, and so on).

I hope that makes it clear that ‘authorization’ counts for nothing in terms of accuracy. Indeed, we have two authorized translations available (Soames' from 1933, and the version published in Rome in 1935) which clearly contradict each other in this sentence, so they can't both be right!

In the case of your quotation, we fortunately have the original Italian available, so there's no need to rely on the accuracy of any existing translation; anyone with access to an Italian-English dictionary can easily check what ‘destra’ means for themselves.

  • Soames was the authorized translation. The right translation was from Evola. – user46641 Nov 7 '18 at 22:08
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    @user46641 The text was written in 1927 and first published in 1932. The first part was written by G. Gentile, and the second (from which the quotation is taken) by Mussolini, as is explicitly stated in the heading of that section. I have edited my answer to make this clear. – Pont Nov 7 '18 at 22:57
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    @user46641 Why does it matter who authorised the translation? All that matters for the purposes of this question is that the translation was wrong. – F1Krazy Nov 8 '18 at 6:34
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    @user46641 If you want to search for a phrase with Google, you need to use quotation marks. Here's a gallery showing the relevant lines in context (also edited into the answer). – Pont Nov 8 '18 at 18:36
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    @user46641 The 1935 text is a translation of the Italian text which Mussolini wrote in 1927 and which was first published in 1932, as explained in my answer. Doubtless there were also further Italian publications throughout the rest of the 1930s which reproduced the original Italian text, since it was a foundational document of fascism and widely disseminated, but there's no reason to go hunting for reprints when we already have the original source. – Pont Nov 8 '18 at 20:49

I figured this out.


Although written in 1927 by Mussolini, “La Dottrina del Fascismo” was first published in 1932 in the fourteenth volume of the first edition of the Enciclopedia Italiana as part of a large article about Fascism, written partly by philosopher Giovanni Gentile. The part of the article written by Mussolini was published for the first time in Italy as an essay in 1935 by Vallecchi. Soames translated the part of the article written by Mussolini in 1933. The translation, named “The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism” was published as a 26-page booklet by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, London, in the “Day to Day Pamphlet” series. It was the first authorized English translation of Mussolini’s “La Dottrina.”.


Most of the articles are signed with the initials of the author. An essay credited to Benito Mussolini entitled "The Doctrine of Fascism" was included in the 1932 edition of the encyclopedia, although it was ghost-written by Gentile.

The Soames and Gentiles versions are different articles. The Soames version is based on Mussolinis writings and is the origin of the quote.

Additional quote from the article:

For if the 19th century was the century of individualism it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism, and hence the century of the State.

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    I don't understand why you think this answers the question. Your question is mainly about the fragment “a century of the Left”, but this (mis)translation is not covered in your answer. – pipe Nov 9 '18 at 12:53
  • @pipe: he is probably assuming that right-wing ideology cannot be statist or collectivist... The Soames translation was further discussed on politics.stackexchange.com/questions/43650/… by the way. – Fizz Sep 20 at 7:53

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