Literature of World War 1 in some European countries di Immacolata Casillo (, Paola D'Alessandro (, Beatrice Vitali (

Unit Title: “European Literature during the First World War”

Level: 17-19 years of age, upper intermediate level of English, good knowledge of Italian and German.

Timing: 3 up to 5 hours lesson

Links to Literacy/Numeracy/Citizenship/ICT etc: History, Italian, German, English Literature.

Lesson Aim/ Key questions: The influence of Great War on literature genres, especially on Poetry. Who were the War Poets? Can Italian Poets as Marinetti and Carducci or German Poets as Brecht and Trakl be considered War Poets? What are the similarities and the differences with the English Poets?

Prior Learning or pre-requisites: Students are familiar with the historical setting prior to the outbreak of the first World Conflict. They are already familiar with reading and analysing poems’ message. They have a good knowledge of English, Italian and German.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this teaching unit students will be able to:

  • Understand the causes for the outbreak of the first World War.
  • Memorize the main events of the Great War.
  • Analyse the experience of a trench soldier and sympathize with War Poets’ feelings of fear and despair.
  • Analyse poems of three English Authors (Owen, Brooke, Sassoon), two Italian Authors (Carducci and Marinetti) and two German Poets (Brecht and Trakl).
  • Compare writing devices and message conveyed from different European Poets, no matter if already known from a biography or writing styles’ point of view.
  • Recognize a war poem and contextualise it in the broader literary European tradition of the 20th century.
  • Memorize the main features of the Futurism movement.
  • Develop literary skills (reading and understanding a poem) reflecting upon rhythm, figures of speech, title of the poem, punctuation etc.
  • Develop personal responses to the text, interpreting the text from a personal point of view.
  • Meditate upon the fact that War Poets' opinions are still up-to-date in the 21th century.

Material/ Resources: Internet, handouts.

Teacher's resources: [E1] [E2] [E3] [E4] [E5][S1]

Assessment of / for learning: see last chapter of the unit.

Extension activity: Students can be encouraged to look for more material about War Poets and read other poems, for example by Yeats, Kipling, Oehring, Majakovskij.

Plenary: Teacher explain historical and social setting of Europe and other Countries involved in World War 1. Further information on authors can be found by students. Cooperative learning is highly encouraged. Pair work or group work are fitting for the exercises on poems.

  1. Introduction
  2. History
  3. Literature of the 1st World War in Europe
  4. English Poetry in WW1
  5. Rupert Brooke
  6. Activities on "The soldier" di Rupert Brooke
  7. Wilfred Owen
  8. Activities on "Dulce et decorum est" by Wilfred Owen
  9. Siegfried Sassoon
  10. Activities on "Glories of women" by Siegfried Sassoon
  11. Italian Literature in WW1
  12. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
  13. Giuseppe Ungaretti
  14. German literature in WW1
  15. Bertold Brecht
  16. Georg Trakl
  17. Students' assessment
  18. Self assessment
Elenco percorsi                                                                                  Edita Roberto Trinchero