The Horrors of World War II Depicted in Literary Works of Twentieth Century Writers

The Horrors of World War II Depicted in Literary Works of Twentieth Century Writers

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World War II had many effects in the middle of the twentieth century. Included are the emotional and psychological effects on those who wrote literary works and used their experiences as subjects to write about. Such are the cases of Italian writers who saw to the deepest extents the effects of WWII in Italy. Twentieth century Europe has been for many people a time of great turmoil and destruction. Two world wars have impacted the lives of many, and the events in the war have been the source of inspiration for great writers.
Primo Levi, born in Turin July 31, 1919, was an Italian-Jew. He was deported to a concentration camp in Auschwitz, and from his experiences there he writes novels like If this is a Man and The Truce. Umberto Saba was born in Trieste on March 9, 1883. He lived in Italy most of his life, until the implementation of anti-Semitic laws during fascist Italy and moved to Paris. He was in the military for WWI, but saw no action. These experiences led to him writing poems like “Consolation” and “Solitude”, which deal with his point of view of the wars. Italo Calvino was born in Cuba October 15, 1923. His parents moved to Italy one year after his birth. There he enrolled in the University of Turin in 1941 and later joined the communist party to rebel against the fascist government. By reading literary works from twentieth century writers, one can see the impacts of World War II on European countries like Italy and can understand why writers like Primo Levi and Umberto Saba wrote about their experiences in their works. The descriptions of war and the effects on the authors are seen in works like “Shema” and “Consolation”; the corruption of the governments also spreads to the individuals, seen in If on a Winter’s Night a...


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Works Cited
Calvino, Italo. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Trans. William Weaver. Torino: Everyman’s Library. 1993.
Levi, Primo. If this is a Man. Trans. Stuart Woolf. London: Abacus. 1987.
Levi, Primo. “Shema.” If this is a Man. London: Abacus. 1987.
Levi, Primo, and Risa Sodi. "An Interview with Primo Levi." Partisan Review (Summer 1987): 355-366. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Linda Pavlovski and Scott T. Darga. Vol. 109. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 May 2010.
"Primo Levi." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 May 2010.
“Primo Levi.” www.themodernworld.com. 2010. Scriptorium. 16 May 2010.

Saba, Umberto. “Consolation.” Songbook: The Selected Poems of Umberto Saba. Yale University Press. 2009.

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