Come fare la guerra con le parole: il caso del War Propaganda Bureau
De Giovanni, Flora
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At the outbreak of the First World War, Charles Masterman, head of the War Propaganda Bureau, invited a number of leading British writers to support the national cause with their works. The essay analyses some of the short stories commissioned by the War Propaganda Bureau, whose aim was to secure morale, regulating the affects of the population, seen as «a mass of affective beings», through ideals such as honour and glory. According to Attridge, a work of art is «one that brings the other into the field of the same». He maintains that it reveals that «dimension that has to remain out of sight if we are to pursue our normal paths through life», encouraging the reader to question the accepted values and norms of the culture to which he/she belongs. Part of his/her response to the work is thus a feeling of «strangeness». On the contrary, the literature of propaganda appears to accomplish a different task, namely, to make the extraordinary familiar. In order to reassure the reader, who is concerned about his/her survival and the future of the nation, it highlights the connection and continuity between the exceptional war and the ordinary pre-war state, drawing on the literary tradition and resorting to common moral codes and shared notions of national identity.