Allied Encounters uniquely explores Anglo-American and Italian literary, cinematic, and military representations of World War II Italy in order to trace, critique, and move beyond the gendered paradigm of redemption that has conditioned understandings of the Allied–Italian encounter.
The arrival of the Allies’ global forces in an Italy torn by civil war brought together populations that had long mythologized one another, yet “liberation” did not prove to be the happy ending touted by official rhetoric. Instead of a “honeymoon,” the Allied–Italian encounter in cities such as Naples and Rome appeared to be a lurid affair, where the black market reigned supreme and prostitution was the norm.
Informed by the historical context as well as by their respective traditions, these texts become more than mirrors of the encounter or generic allegories. Instead, they are sites in which to explore repressed traumas that inform how the occupation unfolded and is remembered, including the Holocaust, the American Civil War, and European colonialism, as well as individual traumatic events like the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine and the mass civilian rape near Rome by colonial soldiers