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Memoria e Ricerca

The «generation of 1914» and the memory of Risorgimento. The case of Gualtiero Castellini

di Elena Papadia
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 33 (2010), p. 115

This essay deals with the italian “generation of 1914”: a composite movement which – actually during the spring of 1915 – joined in order to riot over the neutrality of Italy in the First World War. The intellectual biography of Gualtiero Castellini, a young leader of the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI), shows how deeply connected could be the democratic idea of the First World War as the “last Risorgimento’s war”, and the imperialistic conception of conflict. Through a close reading of Castellini’s writings before and during the war – in which he took part as a volunteer – it is possible to understand how strong was the memory of Risorgimento on the eve of the war, and how problematic could be in some cases the distinction between the “traditional” patriotism and the conception of nation professed by the new nationalist movements. Key Words: Gualtiero Castellini, Irredentismo, Nationalism, Risorgimento, Youth, War