Experiences, Images and Political Reflections on the First World War in Italian Interwar Literature

TitleExperiences, Images and Political Reflections on the First World War in Italian Interwar Literature
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsValent, Lucio
Date Published01/2017

The historiography of the First World War has become well-established branch of contemporary history in its own right. In the past years, it has analysed in depth a boundless number of issues on the basis of diaries and memoirs written by soldiers during and after their experiences in the trenches. These studies have improved our knowledge of the war and of the soldiers’ reactions to their tragic familiarity with death. Recently, historians have focused on the social aspects of the Great War and its aftermath. In particular, they have considered war memorials, life behind the frontline, practical mobilization of a national system, and supply problems both in the trenches and within civil societies. However, in this excellent historical research the lion's share is made up of British, French and German diaries, memoirs and war books. Experiences lived by soldiers of different nationalities are known to a lesser degree. In this article, the author attempts to explain how, in the years between the two world wars, Italian war veterans described to their reading public what they experienced during the conflict. The article shows not only the extent to which Italian war literature was permeated by piety and emotion towards comrades and, sometimes, enemies who shared the devastating ordeal of the trenches, it also highlights how it was pervaded by political implications that were peculiar to Italian social and political conditions of the time.

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