Vicente Blasco Ibanez and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Civil War of Europeans as a Cultural War

  •  Jose Mauricio Saldanha Alvarez    


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a novel about the Great War, was written in 1916 by the Spanish author Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. Ibáñez was a liberal intellectual and opponent to German militarism and the House of Austria, which had been intolerant and retrograde during its rule of Spain in the seventeenth century. This study explores the imperialist, militarist and cultural tensions of the war through Ibáñez’s novel. The formation of blocks of alliances and the capture of rich territories, according to Lenin, translated into the juxtaposition of the German Reich—represented historically by old Germania and the current German Empire fighting for European supremacy—with the Latinity of Ancient Rome and the contemporary French Republic. This cultural and ideological struggle is reflected in the novel’s characters and dialogue. Ibáñez suggests that the 1914 confrontation arose from the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. In the novel, the conflict is typified in two opposing novelistic characters, a German and a Frenchman, who immigrate to Argentina to escape war and poverty. Both return to their countries of origin rich and related to each other, having married the daughters of a rich landlord, Madariaga, although his sons have become cousins and nephews and they face each other from opposite sides of the battlefield. World War I is an irresistible force the magnitude of which draws together all the characters, Ibáñez was absorbed in narrating the first year of the war, when France suffered bitter defeats, and writing about this ongoing event led to his success in the USA, where he maintained the appreciation of the public by quickly creating a film version of the novel.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-7173
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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