Children, Soldiers and Heroes: The Great War in Past and Present Italian Children’s Literature.
Along with the Great War came new forms of propaganda, in Italian children’s literature too. In fact, children’s literature was adopted as a powerful communication tool, conveying emotionally pervasive and deceitful messages to children and adults alike. Today’s Italian literature for children no longer suffers from such a strong influence of wartime censorship and political propaganda. It is much more a narrative space for recollection and reflection. But how has it really changed? What are the modern tendencies of publications for children on the topic of the First World War in Italy? Do the narrative models differ very greatly from those of the past? After sketching the historical, cultural and political picture of Italy at the time of World War I, this essay analyses and compares a significant corpus of past and present Italian children’s literature. The findings demonstrate that with the arrival of new directions in Italian historiographical research, with a new generation of Italian children’s authors, and with the centenary of the ending of the First World War Italian children’s literature has somewhat belatedly painted a more balanced picture of the historical, cultural and political events of those times.