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Enemy and Officers in Emilio Lussu’s Un anno sull’Altipiano

Department of Comparative Literature, The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, NY 10016, USA
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 26;
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 6 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
This essay explores the concept of enemy in Emilio Lussu’s WWI memoir Un anno sull’Altipiano (A Soldier on the Southern Front, 1938). The memoir portrays the conflict on the oft-forgotten Alpine Front, where Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies clashed from 1915 to 1918 in a series of battles fought at high altitudes. I argue that two crucial dynamics of modern warfare shape the concept of enemy in WWI literature: the impossibility of close-range encounters, which was due to the superiority of defensive firepower, and hatred for one’s own officers, which stemmed from the corrosive environment of the trenches, where the aggressive attitude of high-ranking officers often led hundreds of thousands to pointless death. I show how, in Lussu’s memoir, these dynamics subvert the traditional image of the enemy as imposed by military propaganda, and finally elicit feelings of empathy. View Full-Text
Keywords: World War I; Italian Front; memoir; Emilio Lussu; trench warfare World War I; Italian Front; memoir; Emilio Lussu; trench warfare
MDPI and ACS Style

Marcucci, D. Enemy and Officers in Emilio Lussu’s Un anno sull’Altipiano. Humanities 2019, 8, 26.

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