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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


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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‘A war is a volcano’: Theorists of War, Journalists in the Trenches and Intellectual Positions from Barcelona during the Great War


Catalan Journalists in the European Trenches

In December 1917, a group of Catalan journalists visited the French frontlines of the Great War. After having photographs of themselves taken in front of the symbolic significance of the cathedral of Reims, its great windows obscured by protection against the bombing,1 the journalists went on to inspect the soldiers of the French Foreign Legion in Hamonville. Finally, at Pont-à-Mousson, on the banks of the River Moselle, the tragic scenario of Franco-German battles throughout the First World War, the Barcelona delegation were able to see for themselves the infamous frontline trenches of the war – one of the most enduring symbols of twentieth century war in the collective imagination of Europe. Among the delegation were the biggest names in the Barcelona press of the time, such as Claudi Ametlla and Romà Jori, but also other figures from the Catalan political intelligentsia of the time, ranging from the writer and painter, Santiago Rusiñol to the separatist activist, Joan Solé i Pla.

The visit arose as a response to new demands from the readers of Catalan newspapers. Anxious for first-hand news, scrutinizing the ← 261 | 262 → day-to-day progress of the war on the maps of Europe, hungry for original and personal points of view rather than the simple, brief reports wired by news agencies, it could be said that it was the readers themselves who forced the Barcelona newspapers to send their own correspondents to go and see the...

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