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* full English manuscript available * chapter by chapter outline available *
ABN AMRO Bank award for Best non-fiction
The First World War has been called the Literary War, because poems such as ‘In Flanders Fields’ are still part of the collective memory of the conflict to this day. Dozens of studies have been published on British poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, but never before has the story of the war been told in its full European context.
On the basis of their work and life, Geert Buelens discusses how figures such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Fernando Pessoa, Paul van Ostaijen, Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Giuseppe Ungaretti and Guillaume Apollinaire experienced and described the war. We see how the Italian Futurists campaigned enthusiastically for their country to enter the conflict, but also how Dadaism emerged in 1916 from a feeling of disgust with a culture that could create such a war. Poems were not only used as a propaganda tool on a massive scale, but also to experiment with new forms and ideas.
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‘A brilliant and accessible book about the hyperbole of the Great War.’ – de Volkskrant
‘Buelens shows how people in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe thought about nationalism and internationalism, with the First World War as a cathartic moment. His book also reads like an adventure novel, and often feels like a crime novel on account of the horrors of war.’ – Trouw
‘Buelens aims for a mosaic, the image of the war through the eyes of the poets who witnessed it.’ – NRC Handelsblad
‘Brilliant language play.’ – Vrij Nederland
THIS TITLE IS ELIGIBLE FOR A TRANSLATION GRANT FROM THE FLEMISH LITERATURE FUND
The canon of sixties culture is subject to little discussion: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jean-Luc Godard, Andy Warhol and the miniskirt will all appear on most lists, perhaps supplemented with James Bond, Star Trek or John Coltrane. The focus on these landmarks, however, has produced a one-sided image of the decade. Other phenomena from mainstream culture such as West Side Story, Cleopatra, The Sound of Music, Un homme et une femme, Brigitte Bardot, West and East German westerns and the twist and bossa nova rages are just as important for a proper understanding of the period.
Instead of focusing on one country, year, theme or movement, Buelens regards the sixties as a global phenomenon. The book is set up alternately thematically and chronologically, and it accounts of the ways in which great geopolitical and cultural developments interlock and the origins of culture and value patterns which remain sources of inspiration and controversy today.
Focusing not only on the well-known political episodes and artistic and cultural highlights in music, movies, architecture, photography and literature, Buelens broadens our view as he includes almost forgotten works of art, icons and movements.
PRESS ON A-CHANGIN’ :
‘A mind-expanding experience. The power of this book is that it ignores the clichés and revisits history. You learn to look at a new panorama with fresh eyes. And that is more complete and open than the clichéd picture we have previously formed of the sixties.’ **** – DE STANDAARD
‘Beautiful book… honours all these coloured voices that are so often left out of the narrative’ – JOURNALIST AND ACTIVIST HADJAR BENMILOUD FROM VILEINE.COMContact us