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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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Fought in Narrative: English Literature and the Cultural Memory of World War I


All wars are civil wars. Against many odds, that kind of wisdom has become painfully revealed in the awareness of a century’s worth of bloodshed after the war that was supposed to end all wars. To some, that kind of awareness came pretty soon and it resonates in the words of the poet and soldier Edmund Blunden when, referring to the first day of the Battle of the Somme, he wrote that neither side ‘had won, nor could win, the War. The War had won, and would go on winning’.1 The idea that victors could also be losers has been often expressed in the case of Britain with the suggestion that the country won the war but lost the peace. Interestingly, this is not what got inscribed on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. There, the reasons for dying are crystal clear: ‘For God, For King and Country, For Loved Ones Home and Empire, For the Sacred Cause of Justice and Freedom of the World’.

Whatever remains inscribed in stones, though, it is clear that the textual battles that followed the actual battles have turned the scale in the sense that our cultural memory of the conflict is now loaded with images of pity and futility for a vast massacre that solved no great political issues other than reinforcing the absurd and useless nature of war itself. Blunden, again, wrote about war having been ‘found out’, as something that for all its ‘gallant...

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