Fascinated by myth and action, they were the children of D'Annunzio, Barres, Jünger and T. E. Lawrence. They liked Utopia, the cult of youth and that of the beautiful death. They were René Crevel, Klaus Mann, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender or Lauro de Bosis. Too young to have known the ordeal of the trenches and haunted by the feeling of having lost the great opportunity of their life, they hoped to make their existence "inimitable".
For these armed aesthetes, warrior poets in search of heroism, the era of rising totalitarianisms offered an unexpected opportunity to be heard. The Spanish Civil War was their time. They succumbed to the Marxist or fascist temptation, they fell weapons in hand, at the controls of a plane or with a bullet in the head, sometimes they slipped towards self-destruction: no ideological coherence unifies their group, but the break with the world of the fathers, the revolt of the senses, the temptation of the absolute.
It is all the spirit of this youth and the richness of its paradoxes that Maurizio Serra brings to life here.