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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 Latin American Intellectual Field in the Face of the First World War: An Initial Approach

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Introduction

Until 1917, the Latin American states adopted a neutral stance towards the First World War, seen as a distant spectacle that did not deserve their direct involvement. Nevertheless, the intellectuals exhibited an active commitment to the cause of the war, and took sides in favour of one or another belligerent party. The interest in the conflict was the result of the historical, cultural, economic and demographic bonds that tied Latin America and Europe at least since the nineteenth century.

This chapter intends to offer an initial approximation to the repercussions of the conflict on the Latin American intellectual field. Two preliminary clarifications are needed. In the first place, Latin America is an ethnically and culturally complex and heterogeneous subcontinent and, in that sense, every generalization is risky. On the other hand, the historiography about the Great War in this region from a cultural history perspective is recent, embryonic and uneven, focusing on some national cases and being almost inexistent for other Latin American realities.1 This factor also limits the extent of any generalizing reflections. ← 99 | 100 →

However, it is still possible to discern some general tendencies on the conflict developing throughout the subcontinent, given the fact that from the beginning of the nineteenth-century Latin American intellectuals were part of dynamic cultural networks and maintained frequent exchanges between them and with their European peers.

Vive la France!

In that sense, one first and obvious ascertainment is the vigorous...

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