"Barbusse first came to fame with the publication of his novel Le Feu (translated as Under Fire) in 1916, which was based on his experiences during World War I. By this time, Barbusse had become a pacifist, and his writing demonstrated his growing hatred of militarism. Le Feu drew criticism at the time for its harsh naturalism, but won the Prix Goncourt." --Wikipedia. Translated by Fitzwater Wray.
fairs of the world and almost from the world itself, whose faculties are deepened by suffering and meditation, as far remote from their fellow men as if they were already of the Future--these men look deeply into the distance, towards the unknowable land of the living and the insane.
"Austria's act is a crime," says the Austrian.
"France must win," says the Englishman.
"I hope Germany will be beaten," says the German.
They settle down again under the blankets and on the pillows, looking to heaven and the high peaks. But in spite of that vast purity, the silence is filled with the dire disclosure of a moment before.
Some of the invalids break the silence, and say the word again under their breath, reflecting that this is the greatest happening of the age, and perhaps of all ages. Even on the lucid landscape at which they gaze the news casts something like a vague and somber mirage.
The tranquil expanses of the valley, adorned with soft and smooth pastures and hamlets rosy as the rose,