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World War I from Local Perspectives: History, Literature and Visual Arts

Austria, Britain, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United States


Mirosława Buchholtz and Grzegorz Koneczniak

The volume explores the ways in which the Great War has been remembered and imaged in various local accounts. It provides careful readings of a wide range of sources: letters exchanged by Henry James and Burgess Noakes, spoken accounts of the Old Believers of the Russian Orthodox Church, historical documents concerning Eastern Europe and the United States, travel writings by Fritz Wertheimer, Hermann Struck, and Herbert Eulenberg, literary texts by Lord Dunsany, Miroslav Krleža, and Gustav Meyrink, theater performances in Italy and Ireland and visual arts: masks for facially disfigured soldiers made by Francis Derwent Wood and Anna Coleman Ladd.
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Echoes of the Great War in Italian Literature and Theatre of the First World War and the Interwar Period



Two important dates in the history of Italy – the years 1915 and 1918 – exerted an influence on the lives of many writers and artists who belonged to the generation of the Italian avant-garde movement of the “angry” and the “untamed” at the end of the first and in the second decade of the 20th century. When the First World War broke out in 1914, Italy declared its neutrality, and the Italian parliament split into the following parties: the pro-government party of Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti, the party of socialists and Catholics (for whom the war became synonymous with violence as well as the total destruction and destabilization of the state), and, finally, the supporters of immediate military intervention of Italy. This last group included not only, though first of all, nationalists, futurists, anarchists, but also democrats and industrialists from Northern Italy. Such figures as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Gabriele D’Annunzio, and Giuseppe Antonio Borgese, as well as Enrico Corradini,1 Gaetano Salvemini, Piero Jahier, Giovanni Papini, Ardengo Soffici, and Aldo Palazzeschi belonged to the main representatives of the Italian Futurist avant-garde movement, and they gathered around the Florence democratic periodicals La Voce2 – “The Voice of the Nation” (1908–1916) and Lacerba (1913–1915). In the pages of these two magazines, the aforementioned ← 99 | 100 → figures called for artistic experimentation and absolute negation of the past; they glorified the phenomenon of power and war, and heralded the arrival of the new era of industrialization and mechanization in...

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