A Civil War of Words

The Cultural Impact of the Great War in Catalonia, Spain, Europe and a Glance at Latin America

by Xavier Pla (Volume editor) Maximiliano Fuentes (Volume editor) Francesc Montero (Volume editor)
©2016 Edited Collection VII, 441 Pages


The Great War did not only mark the history of the twentieth century: to a large extent, the conflict also affected culture and literature in Europe and the rest of the world. This collection of essays aims to provide the reader with a broad and transdisciplinary perspective on the cultural and political impact of the Great War. Using a comparative approach and focusing on Catalonia and Spain, this volume reflects the enormous variety of representations of the ‘theatre of war’ in both neutral and belligerent countries, causing a significant rejuvenation in fiction and journalistic genres in the subsequent decades.
This book features essays by some of the most important specialists in the First World War from Spain, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Latin America, who, in the centenary of the conflict, provide an innovative critical approach to this crucial event in contemporary history.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Political Influences beyond the Frontiers
  • Europe before and after the Great War
  • Some Reflections on the Great War and the Nationality Question in Europe
  • A Civil War of Words in Italy: Italian intellectuals from Interventionism into WWI to Engagement into Fascism
  • The Sound of the Mind: Portuguese Intellectuals and the First World War
  • The Latin American Intellectual Field in the Face of the First World War: An Initial Approach
  • Black Storms, Intimate Pain
  • Controversial Memories in the Discourse/Narrative of World War I
  • Fought in Narrative: English Literature and the Cultural Memory of World War I
  • From Arcadia to Armageddon: Literary Conventions and Transgressions in the Work of Siegfried Sassoon
  • Shell-Shocked Legacies: Narratives of Trauma in Virginia Woolf, W. H. R. Rivers and Pat Barker
  • Spanish and Catalan Imaginaries in the European Conflict
  • The Great War as an Expression of the Dispute between the ‘Two Spains’
  • The Motives of Francophilia: History of a Frustration
  • ‘A war is a volcano’: Theorists of War, Journalists in the Trenches and Intellectual Positions from Barcelona during the Great War
  • Toward a Pro-Ally Collective Imagination: Spanish Writers in the Face of the Great War
  • The Squadron of the Star: Catalan War Poetry
  • Witnesses to an ‘Apocalyptic Storm’: Catalan Intellectuals and the Great War
  • Janus’s Relevance: Ramiro de Maeztu and the Great War
  • Fighting and Writing for Catalonia and France: Frederic Pujulà and the Catalan Volunteers in the Trenches
  • Amadeu Hurtado at the Iberia Magazine: A Mainstay of Catalan Francophilia
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series Index

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We have formed a small group, which we call the Committee of Friends for the Moral Unity of Europe. The idea we shall use as our starting point is that the war which today seems to be tearing apart this higher unity is, by definition, a Civil War.
— (EUGENI DORS, in the Barcelona newspaper La Veu de Catalunya, 15 December 1914)

As a result of the commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, there has been a huge expansion of academic reflection on the War and of its origins, its dynamics and its outcomes, all of which has been duly reflected in the mass media. Collective international works have been published that are destined to be essential reference works in the years to come, such as the imposing Cambridge History of the First World War edited by Jay Winter, along with books that, despite dealing only with national issues, have already become required reading. International conferences, books of greater or lesser importance, special-issue history journals, documentaries, movies and novels, even video games, have all been promoted and discussed in the pages of the magazines and newspapers and have taken up hours of television and radio. As a result, fresh perspectives for research – and new and old debates – have commanded the centre stage of contemporary history, of the history of ideas and of cultural studies. Furthermore, the fact that the centenary has coincided with current events in the Middle East and the Ukraine has reignited the question of geopolitics – and how it can explain or fail to explain the legacies of the War. ← 1 | 2 →

As is generally accepted, the Great War was a detonation of the relationship between outward aggression and inward balance into a large-scale conflict. The scenario in August 1914 was one in which the cultural discourse (i.e. literary, pictorial, journalistic discourse) and nationalist practices were going through a process of modernization and radicalization marked by a constant tension between tradition and modernity. As recently shown by Michael Neiberg in his Dance of the furies. Europe and the outbreak of World War I, the cultural parameters were a fundamental part of the process by which a significant portion of the European population assumed that their own countries were in no way responsible for the outbreak of war and that, consequently, their participation in it was entirely a defensive response in the face of enemy agression. Setting up a stereotypical image of the extreme antagonist became a key part of state policy and the conflict became a testing ground for the effects of propaganda on public opinion. As John Horne wrote, the ‘demonizing of the enemy’ was combined with ‘an idealization of the home nation’s community.’1

Although the idea of national unanimity and massive enthusiasm for the war has since been moderated by historians,2 it is still striking that those intellectuals who were called on to be anti-war voices and critics for much of the conflict and in the decades afterwards, also manifested their deepest nationalist feelings. Some, like Otto Dix and Henri Barbusse, narrated the horrors of the trenches only after having themselves spent months in them fighting for their countries. Others, such as Stefan Zweig, could not contain their desire for a German victory and proclaimed it publicly ← 2 | 3 → during the first weeks of August 1914.3 The basic state of affairs in those first days of August suggests a shared belief that a war of regeneration was made manifest in the urgent call for mobilization as all sides sought a national communal unity. In general, many of the interventionist intellectuals believed that the war would serve to save the nation from decay and corruption through a process of collective rebirth.

The myth of national regeneration through war was important in France, long considered at home and abroad to be a decadent and bourgeois nation. There, after years of preaching peace, the war reawakened a certain fascination as it represented the chance to return to the values that could transcend the individual on behalf of the collective. But France was not exceptional in this.4 In England, the war was hailed as a ‘purifying fire’ summoned to combat the moral and cultural degeneration that had infected philosophy, music, literature and art. In Germany, it was even proposed that August 2nd (the day war was declared) should be commemorated as a national holiday to celebrate, argued the philosopher Johann Plenge, the inner victory over the ideas of 1789 and the day of ‘German national rebirth.’ Such feelings also appeared in Italy. According to Enrico Corradini, chief proponent of Italian nationalism, the War was the only thing that could bring about the passage from the individual state to the collective. The strength of this culture was so important that, even though the Vatican had positioned itself in favour of neutrality, many Italian clerics were fervent nationalists and shared many of these perceptions.5

The principal artistic and academic luminaries – at that time intellectuals in the full modern sense of the word, holding spiritual, albeit ← 3 | 4 → non-religious, power in the emerging democratic societies – were the subject of accusations from opposing sides of the trenches. Between 1914 and 1918, European culture as a whole took shape under the restrictions imposed by the states and censorship and, at the same time, an atmosphere that left very little room for dissent.6 Intellectuals were, in fact, a key part of a much broader machinery that powered a process of cultural mobilization in each country. To give but one example, in Germany, during the month of August 1914, an estimated million and a half poems were sent to newspapers for publication in honour of the soldiers who were leaving for the front; the Berliner Tageszeitung, for example, received an average of 500 per day during the first weeks of the conflict.7 By November, seven thousand war-related titles were recorded in the German book market and by early 1916, the deluge had reached over 17,000 new works.8

Neutral countries were certainly not indifferent to the general situation. Although the intensity of feeling could not match the feelings within the countries of the warring powers, the arguments set forth in Italy or Portugal in the passionate debates on interventionism and neutrality during the first months of the conflict were not far removed from those articulated in the debates in France, Germany or the UK. The same can be said for many Latin American countries. However, until relatively recently, Spain and especially Catalonia within its borders, had long been practically forgotten scenarios in the worldwide historical analysis of the Great War, even when such analysis concentrated solely on the situation and specific problems of the neutral countries. This has changed substantially in recent years. Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, located politically in a neutral Spain but geographically bordering France, experienced years ← 4 | 5 → of economic splendour and intellectual and artistic frenzy.9 Thanks to the outstanding work by a number of researchers, the Iberian Peninsula has, for some years, begun to be included in the broader analysis of neutrality. Notable in this regard are, among others, the contributions by Javier Ponce and Carolina García Sanz, who endeavour to place the work on Spain in the wider European context and, in this way, raise interesting perspectives from which to analyse neutrality and its relationship with the conflict as a whole.10 In this context of analytical innovation that appears to be making headway at last, the supposed exceptionality of the Spanish case is increasingly being reduced and what happened here has become increasingly comparable with what happened in other scenarios, in both Europe and Latin America. Now the door is open to a comparative analysis, we can take a fresh look at the many common elements between Spain and several neighbouring countries: the presence of spies and the active propaganda efforts by the warring nations, the uneven economic impact around the country during the course of the conflict, the arduous debates in cultural and political circles defending – or denouncing – the official policy of neutrality, the emergence of bitterly opposed camps (pro-German and pro-Ally, neutralists and rupturists), the revitalized discourse on the nation and, in the end, the searing consequences of the conflagration in all societies. ← 5 | 6 →11

The economic and social impact of the First World War in Spain and Catalonia has long been investigated by historians, but in the last ten years a considerable amount of work has been carried out into various aspects involving Spain during the course of the War.12 Undoubtedly, one of most interesting for historians has been the evolution of the internal political situation throughout Spain during the War. At least two lines of research have emerged, one dealing with strictly economic issues while the other concentrates on the socio-political aspects. With regard to the first, the traditional view of Spanish economic history had already granted a prominent role to the Great War during the 1970s. It is well known that thanks to its neutrality, Spain experienced its first industrial boom and agricultural production grew by 27% between 1913 and 1917. The banking industry also experienced a phase of expansion unlike any before with the number of banking entities doubling between 1916 and 1920. And so the years of the Great War were, if not golden, then at least a ‘silver age’ for the business classes since, at the same time there was a significant loss in purchasing power resulting from rising inflation which reached an annual rate of 22% during the war years. Food shortages and poverty meant that this ‘boom’ period was also a time of crisis and scarcity for a major sector of the Spanish population.13 A number of studies have attempted to provide an overview of how the political situation (closely linked to the economic situation) developed during the war years. One of the more important recent works in this respect is a twenty-page summary by Miguel Martorell of the close relationships between the social, economic and political impacts, in which he also explains how the war years precipitated the breakdown of the ← 6 | 7 → Restoration system in all its aspects.14 Francisco Romero Salvadó is another central figure in the field of political history and his numerous works have found their place among a long line of publications which already by the 1970s had provided remarkable insight into the impact of the European conflict on the labour movement.15 His research proposes a chronology that centres on the second part of the war, with the year 1916 marking the beginning of the crisis of Spanish liberalism.16 From this perspective, his contributions have helped to contextualize the Spanish case within the European framework, as shown recently in a collective volume coordinated by Francisco Morente and Javier Rodrigo, which has a piece by Romero Salvadó himself on the crisis of 1917–1923 in Spain.17

Until shortly before the start of the commemorations of the centenary of the Great War, the lack of studies on the influence of the War on Spanish culture and, more specifically, on the role of Spanish intellectuals within the world of culture, was easy for all to see.18 Despite the existence of studies into a few prominent individuals or magazines, there was nothing that gave a more comprehensive overview that took into account the impact of the conflict and its close relationship with what was happening in Europe. For lack of alternatives, the work of Fernando Díaz-Plaja19 was cited profusely – although his study did not analyse the history of ← 7 | 8 → intellectual ideas in the way that certain European reference works have done. For this reason, apart from some notable case studies on particular newspapers and magazines, the most important contribution in this field remained the chapter ‘A Civil War of Words. The Ideological Impact of the First World War on Spain, 1914–18’ by Gerald Meaker.20

This situation has begun to change in recent years, as a number of works of differing quality have been published on the cultural and political impact of the War in Spain. Although few of these texts have attempted to link what took place at in Spain with what was happening on the international stage, a number of monographic issues of specialist academic journals have shown the many avenues available for just such a comparative analysis that can (and should) be employed to study the Spanish case. An example of this is the dossier co-ordinated by Maximiliano Fuentes Codera and published in the quarterly journal Ayer in 2013, entitled ‘The Great War of intellectuals: Spain in Europe.’ This project aimed to take the comparative analysis forward by linking Spanish and Catalan perspectives (through articles by Fuentes Codera and Santos Juliá) with Italian and French ones (via articles by Patrizia Dogliani and Christophe Prochasson).21 The same could be said for two of the most recent issues of the biannual journal Historia y Política. One was devoted to analysing the war from a transnational perspective, in which the Spanish case is framed within a series of studies focusing on the recent historiography of the war, the relations between Spain and the United States and the centrality of the Balkans case.22 The second, coordinated by Maximiliano Fuentes Codera and Ángel Duarte, highlights the development of nationalist discourse and activity that took place during the war through various articles that analyse Iberian nationalist projects in Spain and Portugal, the cases of Andalusian nationalism, Catalan republicanism ← 8 | 9 → and its links with France and the position of Ramiro de Maeztu as seen through his relationships with intellectuals in England.23

One of the central elements of the analysis of the positions taken up by Spanish intellectuals is the discourses on the Spanish and Catalan nations. To a certain extent, all the arguments in favour or against the warring powers were closely linked to the various competing nationalizing projects. And although studies on nationhood and nationalism in Spain have garnered considerable attention from historians over the years, the specific impact of the Great War has rarely been analysed in detail. Despite some progress, this field of study continues to present many aspects worthy of analysis, ranging from the impact on medium-sized cities, to certain specific social sectors, such as education and teaching (areas which have, on the other hand, received considerable attention in the case of some of the belligerent countries). But if studies into aspects of Spanish nationalism are scarce, the situation is worse in the case of Galician and Basque nationalism about which no deep studies are available at present. Obviously, the war is included in the broader analysis of both nationalisms, but there are no works with the requisite depth that have dealt more specifically with the years of the war and its impact.

In this context, several attempts have been made to develop an interdisciplinary perspective and the analysis of Hispanic intellectuals has been approached from a standpoint that is simultaneously historical and philological. Such is the case with the article by Manuel Martínez Arnaldos and Carmen María Pujante Segura on the neutrality positions of the Spanish journalists;24 the monographic issue of the magazine Ínsula, coordinated by Jordi Amat and José Ramón González, which provides general analysis on Spanish intellectuals together with articles devoted to some of the more important individuals, such as José María Salaverría, Eugeni d’Ors, Gaziel ← 9 | 10 → or Sofía Casanova, among others.25 The same can be said about the contributions by Paloma Ortiz de Urbina26 (essential reading for understanding the pro-German camp) and by Joan Safont (on the principle players at the pro-Ally magazine Iberia).27

In contrast, the great exception to the general scarcity of studies is, without doubt, Catalan nationalism, which has received plenty of attention in recent decades. Several aspects have been studied in great detail, from the discourses by intellectuals to the most relevant political platforms that emerged during the war.28 Undoubtedly, the issue that has received most attention concerns the creation of the myth, or rather, the attempt to multiply and glorify the volunteers who fought alongside the French volunteers who fought in the War with the French Foreign Legion. David Martínez Fiol, the leading figure in this matter, published a seminal work in 1991 describing the attempt – by elements of radical nationalism – to construct and nurture this myth. Martínez Fiol himself, this time with Joan Esculies, has recently re-analysed the question of the volunteers on the occasion of the centenary of 1914.29 On this same question, in 2010, Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas, one of the collaborators in this book, published an authoritative chapter – part of a broader investigation into international relations with Catalanism – which highlighted the need for the Catalan case to be studied within a much wider ← 10 | 11 → international framework.30 Such perspectives once again open the door to seeing the Catalan nation case in a broader framework. Certain intellectual figures have in recent years received a great deal of critical attention. Many have studied the ideological positions taken during the war by the Barcelona philosopher Eugeni d’Ors, the most important and influential intellectual figure of the first quarter of the twentieth century in Catalonia,31 a thinker constantly concerned with the ‘moral’ unity of European culture who, with great foresight had already warned in December 1914 that the ongoing war was, in fact, by definition, a civil war.32

Taking into account all the elements mentioned above, the aim of this book is to analyse the cultural and political impact of the Great War in Spain and Catalonia from an interdisciplinary perspective, which, as is evident, seeks a dialogue among cultural and political history, the intellectuals and literature in general. This dialogue is, furthermore, a key element in the international and transnational focus of the book because what we propose is an analysis of the impact of the War from a necessarily comparative perspective in relation to both the warring countries and the neutral countries. These two elements, the interdisciplinary perspective and the transnational focus, are the reason this book was written.

The opening chapter of the book looks at the changes that took place in Europe following the outbreak of the War. José Álvarez Junco describes how the armed conflict put an end to the model of society marked by industrialization, progress and self-indulgence that had prevailed in Europe since 1870; it also meant the end of the Belle Epoque and European hegemony in the world order. He explains the defining elements of pre-war society, in ← 11 | 12 → order to compare and contrast them with the scenario that emerged after the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, pointing out the defining features of the time and how the war represented, in the end, the beginning of a long period of European decline which he attributes largely to the rise of nationalism. It is precisely this nationalism that is given a comparative analysis in the text by Xosé Manuel Núñez Seixas, who sets out the common features and the diversity of political configurations (autonomies, multinational federations, newly created states, etc.) that were being demanded by stateless nations all over Europe during the early twentieth century. Such aspirations, based on the ‘principle of nationalities’ and reinforced in President Wilson’s fourteen-point peace plan, would condition the perception of nationalism in Europe and the drawing of the frontiers after 1918. The third text in the first part of the book is a look at the specific case of Italy, which focuses on how the country experienced the mobilization of its various political and cultural ‘families’, who were all agreed during the first months of the war that active participation in the war was needed to achieve a more significant place at the European table. Within this intellectual landscape, Patrizia Dogliani centres on the younger generations involved in the conflict, and how their points of view in the war years help us to understand where they stood during the following decades with regard to the establishment of fascism in Italy and throughout Europe. The section ends by taking an ‘Atlantic’ perspective of the issue as we look at the cases of Portugal and Latin America. First, Ana Paula Pires makes a huge contribution to the as yet meagre literature on the involvement of Portuguese intellectuals in the Great War. In a field still too focused on analysing the military and diplomatic aspects of Portugal’s complex involvement in the conflict, Pires sheds light on the involvement of a group of intellectuals known as the ‘Portuguese Renaissance’ and the attempts of this group, following the war, to forge a new Portuguese identity. The closing article, by Maria Inés Tato, is an obviously very general overview of the Latin American case and describes the common tendencies across the continent among which stands out the majority support for France, based on the recognition of a common Latin identity. At the same time, Tato demonstrates how the European crisis and the blossoming of a transnational identity facilitated numerous cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Atlantic in the period following the Great War. ← 12 | 13 →

Entitled ‘Black storms, intimate pains’, the second part of the book is devoted to the theoretical analysis of the complexity involved in the narrative representation of the armed conflict. First, Vita Fortunati, through various examples from some of the best-known novels about the War, unravels the problems that arise from the complex relationship between ethics and the need to bear witness, and the combination of these elements with the aesthetic constraints that govern the literary representation of the suffering, the pain and the horrors of war. Then, using British testimony, Miquel Berga argues how the literature that was born as a result of the Great War played a key role in the process of configuring and fixing the memory of the War and in the creation of a narrative model for the experience of war, marked by the demonstrable appearance of ‘newspaper language’ (which was far removed from reality and designed to stir up the mood in the rear) and the ineffectiveness of language in the attempts to represent the real horror experienced by the soldier-writers. As Berga argues, these witnesses had a strong influence on the writing styles in subsequent wars, specifically, the Spanish Civil War, in the face of which, English language writers (Hemingway, Orwell, etc.) returned to the narrative strategies that marked out by the Great War. Complementing Fortunati’s essay, Mireia Llorens Ruiz provides a thorough analysis of the literary construction of the memoirs – in the form of a novel – of the British soldier-writer Siegfried Sassoon, which transport the reader from the tranquil Arcadia of his childhood, through the initial patriotic exaltation at the outbreak of the conflict and, finally, to the disillusionment and the Armageddon brought on by the War itself. Through Sassoon, Llorens upholds the contribution of literary fiction in preserving the memory of the intimate, horrific experiences of war. To complete this second part of the book, Antonio Monegal investigates the Regeneration Trilogy, Pat Barker’s work of historical fiction based on the Great War. He describes the documentary resources and literary sources used by Barker and shows how the literary expression of individual war experiences became part of the latent and traumatic collective memory of the conflict. Using Barker’s fiction as his starting point, Monegal argues that literary re-creation by those who have not lived through war – driven by an impulse that is both ethical and therapeutic – allows ‘the latent wounds to surface and cry out.’ ← 13 | 14 →

The third part of the book is devoted entirely to the analysis of the implications of the Spanish and Catalan cultural involvement in the conflict, in the circumstances of political neutrality. First, Maximiliano Fuentes discusses how the opposing political and intellectual positions across Spain were transformed into a new version of the recurring division between the two Spains: the traditional-conservative Spain and the liberal-progressive Spain. In the context of increasing tension between the ‘pro-German’ and ‘pro-Ally’ camps, Fuentes examines the views of each side and links them to the various ideas prevailing in Europe at the time and analyses their influence in later decades. From a complementary point of view, Paul Aubert analyses the development of an intense Francophilia among Spanish intellectuals, which started to become dominant in 1914. He puts this situation in connection with a dominant gallophobia and with the rejection of Spanish culture among French cultural circles in the pre-war decades. From his perspective, this ‘pro-France’ perception contributed to undermine the regime of the Restoration opening a constitutional debate. However, he concludes, this process ended with a frustration for the most of Liberal and Republican intellectuals, who supported the Allies even in the first years after the war. Next, Xavier Pla looks at how, in Catalonia – as indeed was the case all over the countries – the Great War was crucial to the modernization of what a journalist was meant to be and, especially, for the emergence of the figure of the so-called writer-journalist who, in the following decades, would become the catalyst for the intellectual sensitivities of their time. As Pla points out, the writers who stood out during the Great War became, thanks to the use of literary journalism to convey their opinions, genuine intellectual reference points during the interwar period. In a similar vein, José Ramón González focuses on the literary and journalistic mobilization in favour of the Allied cause involving numerous Spanish writers whose efforts helped to create enthusiastic support for the allies among their readers. The examples provided by González also help us to understand how the outbreak of war helped to modernize Spanish journalism and the important role of the press in the portrayal and narration of the conflict to an audience eager for witnesses and news. Then, August Rafanell describes and gives the key reasons behind the emergence in France of a true ‘poetic delirium’ during the first years of the War, which sought to spur the soldiers at the front and exalt their heroism. ← 14 | 15 → This mood caught on among authors in the Catalan-speaking French territory of Roussillon and was also echoed in Catalonia. The examples provided by Rafanell help us to understand how the conflict was converted into lyrical subject matter – with obvious propaganda aims – even in neutral countries. Along the same lines, using examples from important writers in the cultural circles of the time, Enric Bou deals with the broad range of literary forms – both traditional and innovative – that were used to convey Catalan reactions to the War and how such reactions highlight the War’s impact at a cultural, artistic and aesthetic level, as well as the feeling of involvement in the conflict even when far from the trenches.

This section ends with articles by David Jiménez, Francesc Montero and Àngel Duarte and Joan Safont. David Jiménez explores the complex figure of Ramiro de Maeztu and the influence of his written reports from Britain on the Spanish public, in which we can find Maeztu’s unconditional support for the allied cause and his measured reflections on the consequences of the war. Then, Montero and Duarte describe the creation – aimed at boosting Catalan nationalist propaganda efforts – of a group of Catalan volunteers and discuss the journalistic and literary testimony of several writers soldiers during the early stages of the war, with special emphasis on the unique stories from the front by Frederic Pujulà. Finally, Joan Safont focuses on the contribution made by the politician and lawyer Amadeu Hurtado to the Catalan pro-Ally cause, through the rediscovery of an unpublished diary from the early stages of the war, and emphasizing his rise in the magazine Iberia, the most important of the pro-Ally publications in Catalonia and one of the most significant in Spain as a whole.


This book would have never become a reality without the collaboration of a lot of people: we are greatful, first of all, to our colleague and friend Àngel Duarte for his enthousiastic and strong support; to Anna M. Garcia (UdG), Antoni Martí Monterde (UB) and María José Olaziregi (UPV) ← 15 | 16 → for accepting to be at the Scientific Commitee during the conference held at the University of Girona (organized by Institute of Catalan Language and Culture and Institute of Historical Research, 24–26 September 2014); to Pablo Giori, Zosia Stasiakiewicz and Meritxell Lafuente for their collaboration. The present book has been carried out as part of the R&D Projects: ‘The impact of the “European civil war” on the journalist-writer (1914–1945): new jobs, new genres, new questions’ (Xavier Pla PI; reference FFI2012–35868) and ‘Reformist Itineraries, Revolutionary Perspectives (1909–1949)’ (Àngel Duarte PI; reference HAR2012–35322), both funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain for the three-year period 2013–2015; ‘Catalan Language & Literature: History and identity’ (A. Rossich PI, reference 2014 SGR-1187), funded by Catalan Government for the three-year period 2014–2016; ‘Història, Memòria, Identitats’ (Anna M. Garcia PI, reference 2014 SGR-1180), also funded by Catalan Government for the three-year period 2014–2016; and ‘A civil war or words. The cultural impact of the Great War in Catalonia, Spain and Europe (1914–2014)’ (Xavier Pla PI; reference FCT13–7938), funded by Science&Technology Spanish Foundation for the two-year period 2013–2014.

1 John Horne (dir.), Vers la guerre totale. Le tournant de 1914–1915 (Paris: Tallandier, 2010), 15.

2 In the case of France, see Rémy Cazals and Frédéric Rousseau, 14–18, le cri d’une génération, (Toulouse: Privat, 2001) and Nicolas Mariot, Tous unnis dans la tranchée? 1914–1918, les intellectuels rencontrent le peuple (Paris: Seuil, 2013); in the case of Germany, see Roger Chikering, ‘“War Enthusiasm”? Public Opinion and the Outbreak of War in 1914’, Holger Afflerbach and David Stevenson (eds), An Improbable War: the outbreak of World War and European political culture before 1914 (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007), 200–12.

3 See, for example, the recent edition in Catalan: Stefan Zweig, El món de 1914 (Introduction by Antoni Martí Monterde) (Girona: Edicions de la Ela Geminada, Trivium 6, 2015).

4 Jean-Yves Le Naour, ‘The Great War between Degeneration and Regeneration’, Jenny Macleod and Pierre Purseigle (eds), Uncovered Fields. Perspectives in First World War Studies (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004), 179–93.

5 Emilio Gentile, L’apocalisse della modernità. La Grande Guerra per l’uomo nuovo (Milano: Mondadori, 2008), 204–8.

6 Aviel Roshwald and Richard Stites (eds), European culture in the Great War. The arts, enterntainment and propaganda, 1914–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

7 Nicolas Beaupré, Écrire en guerre, écrire la guerre. France, Allemagne 1914–1920 (Paris: CNRS, 2006), 28.

8 Wolfgang Marynkewicz, Salón Deutschland. Intelectuales, poder y nazismo en Alemania (1900–1945) (Barcelona: Edhasa, 2013), 239.

9 A recent exposition in the Fundació Joan Miró has comprehensively revealed the journalistic, pictorial and literary production, as well as the main platforms of propaganda and discussion in the city during the years of the War. See Fèlix Fanés & Joan M. Minguet (eds), Barcelona. Zona neutral (1914–1918) (Barcelona: Fundació Miró, 2014).


VII, 441
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (December)
Modern History Iberian Studies First World War Studies War & Literary Journalism European Contemporary War & Novel
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2016. VII, 441 pp.

Biographical notes

Xavier Pla (Volume editor) Maximiliano Fuentes (Volume editor) Francesc Montero (Volume editor)

Xavier Pla is Senior Lecturer of Catalan Contemporary Literature and Theory of Literature and Head of the Department of Philology and Communication at Universitat de Girona. The main focus of his research is on diaries, memoirs, everyday-life literature and, more specifically, literary journalism in interwar Europe. He has edited and written introductions for many volumes by Eugeni d’Ors, Josep Pla, Eugeni Xammar, Jorge Semprún or Claudio Magris. Maximiliano Fuentes is Associate Lecturer of Contemporary History at Universitat de Girona. He specializes in the political relations between Spain and France during the Great War, Spanish intellectuals and the war, and cultural relations between Argentina and Spain during the first decades of the twentieth century. Francesc Montero is Assistant Scholar of Contemporary Literature and project manager at Universitat de Girona. His research focuses mainly on literary journalism under the Spanish Republic and before and after the Spanish civil war.


Title: A Civil War of Words