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‘The Futurist mountains’: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's experiences of mountain combat in the First World War

  • Selena Daly (a1)
Abstract

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's first experience of active combat was as a member of the Lombard Battalion of Volunteer Cyclists and Motorists in the autumn of 1915, when he fought in the mountains of Trentino at the border of Italy and Austria-Hungary. This article examines his experience of mountain combat and how he communicated aspects of it both to specialist, Futurist audiences and to the general public and soldiers, through newspaper articles, manifestos, ‘words-in-freedom’ drawings, speeches and essays written between 1915 and 1917. Marinetti's aim in all of these wartime writings was to gain maximum support for the Futurist movement. Thus, he adapted his views to suit his audience, at times highlighting the superiority of the Futurist volunteers over the Alpine soldiers and at others seeking to distance Futurism from middle-class intellectualism in order to appeal to the ordinary soldier. Marinetti interpreted the war's relationship with the natural environment through an exclusively Futurist lens. He sought to ‘futurise’ the Alpine landscape in an effort to reconcile the urban and technophilic philosophy of his movement with the realities of combat in the isolated, rural and primitive mountains of Trentino.

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Corresponding author
Email: selena.daly@ucd.ie
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Modern Italy
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