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A Civil War of Words

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

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Edited By Xavier Pla, Maximiliano Fuentes and Francesc Montero

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.
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The Motives of Francophilia: History of a Frustration

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1

Between Catharsis and Fresh Fields

In the context of a growing number of confrontations that had given rise to fears of an imminent conflict between the democracies and the German Reich, some young intellectuals were convinced that violence would be a purifying force and conflict would engender progress. After the crisis in Tangier (1905) and Agadir (1911), the tension triggered by a number of nationalist actions in the Balkans and, the following year, by the occupation of Libya by Italy, was beginning to worry the governments, who saw themselves being pushed into wanting a war perhaps to regain control of a society that was slipping out of their hands.2 There were plenty of members of the younger generation eagerly proclaiming the purifying necessity of the coming war. When it came, it was, for most citizens, an unquestionable duty, an interesting moral experience, if not a patriotic necessity (the futurist, Marinetti would proclaim war to be ‘Guerra sola igiene del mondo e sola morale educatrice [the world’s only hygiene, the world’s only moral governess]’);3 the inevitability and regenerative nature of the war had the ← 227 | 228 → literati claiming that a just and honourable war would merely release the heroic virtues of the people.4

In Germany, where, after Wagner’s nationalism and the vitality of Nietzsche, direct action had become a fashionable cult, certain young intellectuals began to draw up an inventory of what needed destroying. They found an incentive and a compendium of...

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