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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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From Arcadia to Armageddon: Literary Conventions and Transgressions in the Work of Siegfried Sassoon


The centenary of the First World War (1914–1918) has meant, like almost all historical milestones, the holding of commemorative events and the publication of a large number of works in different disciplines that seek to recall the vicissitudes that marked one of the bloodiest periods in world history.1 However, since the 1980s, the emergence of reinterpretations of the conflict entailed a revision of the hitherto dominant theses and, above all, fuelled an intense debate that still goes on today. One of the concepts I am interested in highlighting here is that of a ‘culture of war’, which arises from one of the three historiographic paradigms that, according to Antoine Prost and Jay Winter, can epitomize understanding of the First World War.2 The first was developed once the war was over and until the 1940s, with a pre-eminence of military, political and diplomatic history, which identified Germany as wholly responsible. The sacralization of the documents as guarantors of historical research and the conceptualization of the war from above supported this historiographic line in which the great absence was the combatants and the societies involved. It was another discipline of the humanities, in this case literature, which emphasized the personal and human dimension of the war. Indeed, during this period, above all between 1928 and 1934, there was a veritable outpouring of accounts of ← 157 | 158 → the war (autobiographies, novels, diaries…), which were warmly welcomed by the public interested in reading detailed direct accounts of the conflict. Some of...

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