Ibanez, V. Blasco: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
(researched by Kristen Buergert)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Vicente Blasco Ibanez. The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (Los Cuatro Jinetes Del Apocalipsis). New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1918. Copyright: E.P. Dutton & Company No parallel first editions. First translated into French from Spanish in 1917, but no publishings of the same year.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition is published in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
248 leaves, pp.[6][1-2]3-180[181-182]183-387[388-390]391-489[490]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
No introductory material. A publisher's advertisement is found on the verso side of the first leaf, consisting of comments of the press on the book. The book was translated from Spanish by Charlotte Brewster Jordan, noted on the tital page.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
No illustrations
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Presentation of Text On Page: The physical appearance of the text is decent. Words have begun to fade and bleed in places. Wide margins along with amply spaced lines increase the readability despite the worn look of the text. Measurement of Page: 7 3/8" x 4 7/8" Space with Text Per Page: 5 1/2" x 3 5/8" Measurement of Text: 85R Further Description of Typology: No specific description of type on verso of title page or colophon. Chapter headings are in the same type as text, only in all capitals. Similarly, the title page is in the same type as the text, only with certain elements being in all capitals and bold or simply all capitals.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
Wove paper with an even, granulated texture. The paper stock is consistent throughout, except for the endpapers which are heavier and smooth, lacking the granular feel. The original color seems to have been antique, only yellowed over time and stained in places throughout. Each leaf is cut smoothly on all sides.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding is done in bluish cloth with calico texture, not embossed. No dust jacket. The cover is stamped in gold gilt and embossed for the title, subtitle, and author. No cover illustrations. The endpapers are blank and in the same color as the leaves of text, only with a smoother, not granular, feel. Transcription of cover: THE FOUR HORSEMEN|OF THE APOCALYPSE|(LOS CUATRO JINETES DEL APOCALIPSIS|[Gold line drawn separating the previous and subsequent lines of text, centered on the cover about one inch from each end of the cover]|VICENTE BLASCO IBANEZ Transcription of spine: THE FOUR|HORSEMEN|OF THE|APOCALYPSE|[Gold line drawn separating the previous and subsequent lines of text, centered on the spine about 6/8" from the ends of the spine]|IBANEZ|E.P. DUTTON|& CO
12 Transcription of title page
Transcription of title page: Recto: THE FOUR HORSEMEN|OF THE APOCALYPSE|(LOS CUATRO JINETES DEL APOCALIPSIS)|FROM THE SPANISH OF|VICENTE BLASCO IBANEZ|Authorized Translation by|CHARLOTTE BREWSTER JORDAN|[Publisher's crest]|E.P. DUTTON & COMPANY|681 FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK|1918 Verso: Copyright, 1918, by|E.P. DUTTON & COMPANY|All Rights Reserved|[A listing of the first through the twenty-fourth printings, taking up twenty-four lines]|Printed in the United States of America
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
As of December 2002, the manuscript holdings are unknown.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Copy specific information: This copy was given by William H. White, Jr. to the library of the University of Virginia. The donors signature is found written on the inside of the cover in pen, written as W. H. White Jr. The signature of Mary White is found written in pencil just below his with the date 1926 just below that, written in the same hand and in pencil. A rectangular sticker, long side vertical, is on the inside of the cover as well. Transcription of sticker: LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA|[1819 University seal]|PRESENTED BY|William H. White, Jr. Stamped on the verso of the title page in the upper right hand corner is "GIFT|Sep 24 '82"
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
The original publisher, E.P. Dutton & Company, did issue the book in more than one edition in subsequent years, and they are as follows: 1. In 1919 an edition was published with 439 pages. 2. In 1921 and in 1924 an edition was published with 4p.1.,3-482p. 20cm. 3. In 1941 and in 1945 an edition was published with 482p. 20cm. Interestingly, in the 1919, 1921, and 1924 subsequent publications of the book, E.P. Dutton & Company was also publishing, along with heavily advertising other Blasco novels, "Mare Nostrum (Our Sea)" (1919), "The Mayflower" (1921), and "Queen Calafia" (1924).
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
As of December 1918, the copyright year, twenty-four printings had been made of the first edition.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Interestingly, in a March 15, 1919 advertisement of Publishers Weekly, E.P. Dutton announced that Vicente Blasco Ibanez had given their publishing company "sole authority to publish his word in English, and they will issue the only authorized editions of all of his books except "The Cabin" and "Sonnica"". 1. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1983, 1918 2. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1983, 1946 3. New York: Dell Pub. Co., 1961 4. New York: A.L. Burt, 1918 5. London: Constable & Co., Limited, 1919 6. New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1940-1949? 7. Doylestown, PA: Wildside Press, 1918 8. Mattituck, NY: Amereon House, 1946
6 Last date in print?
According to the 2001-2002 "Books in Print", there is a 1983 reprint paperback edition in print, as well as a Classic Books reprinted edition of the 1918 edition.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
No information was found regarding the total copies sold of the book throughout it's publication years. In its first year of publication 500,000 copies were sold at the "high price" of $1.90, according to Tebbel. E.P. Dutton states that the sales of the novel were not exceeded until "Anthony Adverse" was published in the thirties. Furthermore, Irving Harlow Hart, in 1925 as professor of rural education at Iowa State Teachers College, released one of the first academic studies of the subject, titled "Best Sellers in Fiction during the First Quarter of the Twentieth Century", in which Blasco's novel was one of the top ten out of one hundred. Mott's "Golden Multitudes" states that the 1921 screen production of the book, starring Rudolf Valentino, helped sales of the book immensely, but does not give any actual sales figures.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No definitive answer to this question exists after extensive research. The furthest Publishers Weekly and Tebbel went was to say that the book sold half a million copies in the first year of publication. A Publishers Weekly advertisement did also say that the book was the best-selling book for the months of March, April, May and June in 1919 (advertisement transcribed in #8). Hackett states that the book headed 1919 fiction, with Dutton using "spectacular display advertising" to push it. Hackett also comments that the $1.90 price of the book was a new high for a book destined for wide sales.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
New York Times Book Review, December 22, 1918: WHEREVER BOOKS ARE READ MEN ARE TALKING OF|THE FOUR HORSEMEN|OF THE APOCALYPSE|By VICENTE BLASCO IBANEZ|as the greatest novel the world has seen in many years. Such a novel written at any time and under any circumstances would be great enough to gain world recognition. But coming just|at this crisis its vividly interesting story holds so much for the world that it becomes at once pre-eminent.|It shows that war was inevitable from causes deep in the German national character and educa-|tion, and a thinking reader may see in it the way toward molding a new national life that will|make war forever impossible. Yet the magic of it is that if you cared nothing for world futures|you would still find it great--"the most absorbing story you ever read," as the critics say.|It is the one novel of the war that will be valued more and more as the years pass--it is being|bought by thousands as a permanent memorial of events and years never to be forgotten.|Translated by CHARLOTTE BREWSTER JORDAN. $1.90 (postage extra).|FOR SALE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD--48th EDITION ON PRESS|Books are needed for wounded men in hospitals. Send good recent fic-|tion to the Public Library as a Christmas gift to our Soldiers and Sailors.|E.P.DUTTON & CO. Publishers Weekly, April 5, 1919: THE ATTENTION OF THE TRADE is called to the fact that a large two-color|poster of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" with a fine portrait of BLASCO|IBANEZ will be sent to any bookseller upon request. Also, an attractive circular with|biographical notice and press comments, which can be supplied with a dealer's imprint|if a sufficient distribution is contemplated. Publishers Weekly, July 26, 1919: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse|Translated by CHARLOTTE BREWSTER JORDAN. Net $1.90|This is the best-selling book in the United States--has been so reported by all the booksellers for the months of March, April, May and June. No red-blooded|American should fail to read and ponder this thrilling, tremendous novel. Publishers Weekly, Jan-June 1921: THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE|has just appeared in a Metro screen production which eclipses anything heretofore|attempted. Robert Sherwood in "Life" declares that "it lifts the silent drama to artistic|heights never before attained." From the first scene to the last the power of this|amazing book makes itself felt. It is a book which no one can afford to miss. $2.15
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
On advertisement in Publishers Weekly, the film production of the novel is hailed as a success.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
1. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Videorecording, 1993, 1961. Santa Monica, CA :; MGM/UA Home Video :; Turner Entertainment Co. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; a Julian Blaustein production. Directed by Vincente Minnelli ; screenplay by Robert Ardrey and John Gay ; music, AndrÈ Previn. 2. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Videorecording, 1995, 1921. Metro Pictures Corporation. Directed and supervised by Rex Ingram ; written by June Mathis. Editor, Grant Whytock. 3. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Videorecording, 1990s, 1921. United States :; Matinee Classics. Metro Pictures Corp. ; written for the screen by June Mathis ; directed and supervised by Rex Ingram. Photography, John F. Seitz ; film editor, Grant Whytock. 4. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Soundrecording, 1999. Ashland, OR :; Blackstone Audio. Read by Frederick Davidson. 5. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Musical score, 1921. This score is part of the Arthur Kleiner Collection./ Score for the silent film "The Four horsemen of the apocalypse," directed by Rex Ingram and based on the novel of the same title by Vicente Blasco IbaÒez.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Portugese: Os Quatro Cavaleiros do Apocalipse. Translator: Raul Proenca. Lisboa: Livraria Peninsular Editora, 1928. Danish: De Fire Ryttere. Kobenhavn: Nationalforlaget, 1928--. Chinese: 1. Qi shi lu di si qi shi. Taibei: Xin xing shu ju, 1958. 2. Qi shi lu di si qi shi. Shanghai: Bei xin shu ju, 1929. Spanish: 1. Esplugas de Llobregat: Plaza & Janes, 1982. (ALSO published another edition in 1991) 2. Barcelona: Plaza & Janes, 1981. (ALSO published another edition in 1993) 3. Barcelona: Planeta, 1958. 4. Valencia: Prometeo, 1916. (ALSO published another edition in 1919) 5. Madrid: Alianza, 1998. 6. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1954. 7. Santiago de Chile: Ediciones Ercilla, 1937. 8. Mexico: Promexa, 1944. (ALSO published another edition in 1979. 9. Buenos Aires: Hercules, 1916. 10. Habana: Instituto Cubano del Libro, 1971. 11. Santiago de Chile: Interamericana, 1955. 12. Lima: Union Baquijano, 1919. 13. [Valencia]: Ajuntament de Valencia, 2001. 14. Mexico, D.F.: Gernika, 1997.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Vicente Blasco Ibanez was born on January 29, 1867 in the port city of Valencia. His birthplace was a room above a corner grocery, kept by his parents, Gaspar Blasco Teruel of Aguilar de Alfambra and Ramona Ibanez Martinez of Calatayud, both coming from villages in the Aragonese district of Teruel. His father was described as a "headstrong, robust, large-mouthed, red-faced, brusque, and outspoken man", traits no doubt inherited by his son Blasco (Day 19). Blasco received a Catholic education at the nearby Escuelas Pias, ironic since he grew up to become "one of the strongest critics of Spanish Catholicism" (Day 19). In 1883, at age 16, as a student at the University of Valencia, he left home and ran away to Madrid. In Madrid he worked as a secretary and as one of the many ghost writers employed by the aging popular novelist Manuel Fernandez y Gonzalez. From Gonzalez "he mastered the forceful descriptions of people and places" which remains as one of the most widely praised characteristics of his fiction (TCLC). In 1884, Blasco returned to Valencia and finished his degree at the University. He later went on to obtain a licentiate degree in civil and canonical law in 1888. He married his first wife, Maria Blasco del Cacho, an orphan born in 1870 and related to a respectable Valencian family, in 1891. She bore him five children and died in 1925 when Blasco took his second wife, Elena Ortuzar Bulnes, daughter of a Chilean general. Blasco's return to Valencia in 1884 also marked the beginning of his career as agitator for a federal republic. His fiery orations pegged him as "impulsive and impatient to achieve overnight the abolition of stupidity, sloth, and ignorance" (Day 23). He was arrested many times in his life, usually for insurrection, sedition, or high treason, and went into voluntary exile several times after clashes with the Spanish political power structure. Blasco was elected seven times as the Valencian representative to the cortes, the Spanish parliament. In middle life, he spent several years in the Argentinean interior attempting to establish a colony. He did end up establishing two between 1910 and 1913, Cervantes and Nueva Valencia, but each failed as a result of economic depression. He "inspired in fellow Valencians fervor and devotion", and his political activism became known as blasquismo (Anderson 5). Blasco was so influential and his followers were so numerous that blasquismo was at the center of Valencian public life during half a century, 1885 to 1936. Along with Blasco's nonconformist spirit was his strong literary and journalistic inclination. As a young student, he compiled many short stories and news items for circulation among his classmates. He first original short story to be published was in 1882, titled "La torre de la Boatella", translated as "The Boatella Tower". Blasco founded and edited the republican daily morning newspaper, El Pueblo, in 1894, and it served "as a vehicle for his political ideas and in which he also published short stories and novels in serialized form" (CA). As Blasco moved farther into the realm of political and social activism, he molded a new literary phenomenon; "he shattered the traditional model of the passive intellectual who did not take sides" (CA). Throughout his lifetime, he was greater known for his novels of which he wrote thirty-one. Critics classify his novels into three periods (TCLC). The first period was defined as regionalistic, wherein his novels portray the lives of Valencian farmers, fishermen, and peasants, such as in "The Cabin" or "Reeds and Mud". The second period was informed by his increasingly active social and political awareness, such as in "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" or "The Shadow of the Cathedral". The third level marked a higher level of psychological and analytical development, such as in "The Pope and the Sea". But, after the film versions of "Blood and Sand" and "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" came out, his following works were criticized for being "highly sensationalistic and aimed at the Hollywood film industry" (TCLC). Whether as a student, newspaper editor, political jailbird and exile, or gifted writer, Blasco lived every element of his life with fervor and died an accomplished man on January 28, 1928 at the age of sixty-one on his large estate at Menton on the French Riviera. Five years later, he was ceremoniously reinterred in his home city of Valencia.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Most reviews of Vicente Blasco Ibanez's The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had similarly good and bad things to say about the novel with some reviewers more heavily stressing the good and some reviewers more heavily stressing the bad. A Publishers Weekly press release by E.P. Dutton, the publishing house for the novel, obviously had rave reviews. The book is hailed as a "superbly human story told by a genius", as it goes on to urge you to read it before peace terms are meted out to Germany. As subsequent reviews are read, it becomes clear why Dutton stressed reading the novel in a timely manner. Most reviews praised the novel for its one-sidedness. Before The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse there had been no attempt to create a novel based on a war being fought at the same time that the novel about that war was published, and even more so, taking sides in that war. An August 25th, 1918 review in the New York Times supports this claim: Ibanez shows plainly in this vivid novel of the war that his sympathies are wholly enlisted in opposition to the German cause and the German people. Not only did reviewers enjoy the novel for its convictions, for the novel not only opposed the Germans but also endorsed the abolition of all enemies to progress and freedom, but also for portraying the war "through Spanish eyes and with Spanish feeling", says the September 1st, 1918 review in the New York Times, thus occupying a unique place in this kind of fiction. Another positive claim throughout reviews was the novel's descriptive nature. The way Ibanez crafted his characters and environments in previous novels such as The Cabin was said to carry over into The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But while The Cabin is a perfect study into country life, the small town of Ibanez's beloved Valencia, his new book "takes the world for its canvas and glistens with all the varieties of mood and color that one would expect . . . war, famine, pestilence, and death", says the August 25th, 1918 review in the New York Times. The vividness of each scene makes it almost possible for you to imagine yourself at the events Ibanez describes. Isaac Goldberg, in a 1918 review in the Dial, explains the visibility of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: At Saguntum you starve with the besieged, you behold them reduced to the verge of cannibalism, you walk with the heroic defenders of the city into the communal funeral pyre rather than surrender to the indomitable Celtiberian. The novel forces you to face contemporary warfare in all its horrors. Criticisms of the novel were present as well. The novel is criticized for its weak storyline. Interestingly, a review by Newark Evening News finds this weakness irrelevant, stating that "it is not the plot of the book, it is rather the incidental matter that the reader will carry away". Reviewers question whether the real field for the novelist isn't the less artistic tales of war but rather in the regional tales, such as in The Cabin. A 1918 review by Maxwell Anderson actually praises the earlier chapters of the novel, set in South America, but feels that once the characters are transplanted into France "the spell is broken" and it becomes "just another war book". Reviewers agree that the subordinate early chapters of the novel are worthy of Ibanez's reputation, but the war seems an overwhelming task for Ibanez.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Most reviews of Vicente Blasco Ibanez's The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had similarly good and bad things to say about the novel with some reviewers more heavily stressing the good and some reviewers more heavily stressing the bad. A Publishers Weekly press release by E.P. Dutton, the publishing house for the novel, obviously had rave reviews. The book is hailed as a "superbly human story told by a genius", as it goes on to urge you to read it before peace terms are meted out to Germany. As subsequent reviews are read, it becomes clear why Dutton stressed reading the novel in a timely manner. Most reviews praised the novel for its one-sidedness. Before The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse there had been no attempt to create a novel based on a war being fought at the same time that the novel about that war was published, and even more so, taking sides in that war. An August 25th, 1918 review in the New York Times supports this claim: Ibanez shows plainly in this vivid novel of the war that his sympathies are wholly enlisted in opposition to the German cause and the German people. Not only did reviewers enjoy the novel for its convictions, for the novel not only opposed the Germans but also endorsed the abolition of all enemies to progress and freedom, but also for portraying the war "through Spanish eyes and with Spanish feeling", says the September 1st, 1918 review in the New York Times, thus occupying a unique place in this kind of fiction. Another positive claim throughout reviews was the novel's descriptive nature. The way Ibanez crafted his characters and environments in previous novels such as The Cabin was said to carry over into The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But while The Cabin is a perfect study into country life, the small town of Ibanez's beloved Valencia, his new book "takes the world for its canvas and glistens with all the varieties of mood and color that one would expect . . . war, famine, pestilence, and death", says the August 25th, 1918 review in the New York Times. The vividness of each scene makes it almost possible for you to imagine yourself at the events Ibanez describes. Isaac Goldberg, in a 1918 review in the Dial, explains the visibility of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: At Saguntum you starve with the besieged, you behold them reduced to the verge of cannibalism, you walk with the heroic defenders of the city into the communal funeral pyre rather than surrender to the indomitable Celtiberian. The novel forces you to face contemporary warfare in all its horrors. Criticisms of the novel were present as well. The novel is criticized for its weak storyline. Interestingly, a review by Newark Evening News finds this weakness irrelevant, stating that "it is not the plot of the book, it is rather the incidental matter that the reader will carry away". Reviewers question whether the real field for the novelist isn't the less artistic tales of war but rather in the regional tales, such as in The Cabin. A 1918 review by Maxwell Anderson actually praises the earlier chapters of the novel, set in South America, but feels that once the characters are transplanted into France "the spell is broken" and it becomes "just another war book". Reviewers agree that the subordinate early chapters of the novel are worthy of Ibanez's reputation, but the war seems an overwhelming task for Ibanez.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Vicente Blasco Ibanez, was a best-seller during the early part of the twentieth century. The novel arrived in the United States in 1918 when Charlotte Brewster Jordan translated the text from its original language, Spanish. Americans were at the time culturally surrounded by authors such as Virginia Woolf, Earnest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, to name a few. Ibanez had a lot to live up to. Unbeknownst to Ibanez, he was connected to these authors in a very big way. Modernism exploded onto the international scene in the early part of the twentieth century. The movement was "a transitional period during which artists and writers sought to liberate themselves from the constraints and polite conventions we associate with Victorianism" (Online source). Artists were altering their take on life and expressing it in their work as such. The movement coincided with World War I in a big way. A Serbian fanatic's assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, engulfed the world in the first man-made catastrophe of the twentieth century. As a "transcontinental event that physically devastated and psychologically disillusioned the West", the war sent reverberations of its turmoil everywhere, especially in literature (Online source). In keeping with the Modernist movement, works from every corner of the globe reflected the pervasive sense of loss, disillusionment, and even despair in the wake of the Great War. But what made best-sellers out of this period if almost every work of literature was imbued with the characteristics of Modernism? Taking The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as an example, best-sellers were made by those authors that countered the disintegration of the war through their works. Out of a factioned globe, "they viewed art as a potentially integrating, restorative force, a remedy for the uncertainty of the modern world" (Online source). We learn, from this book, that best-sellers take control of a situation, or an event, and manipulate it to serve a purpose. In order to better explain this idea, I will address what qualities reviewers praised about the book, what the public persona of the book's author was, what factors explain the book's lifespan, in an effort to prove how The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse countered the disintegration of the war to become a world famous best-seller. I What qualities did the reviewers praise in this book? Publishers Weekly praised the book as a "superbly human story told by a genius". The war was a horribly inhumane concept. Men killing men for dominion over territory seemed so mechanical. World War I gave new meaning to death on the battlefield; it was nothing less than a slaughter. In the Battle of Verdun, for example, "the goal of the German commander was not territory, but to bleed his enemy to death" (Online source). People were driven to act in appalling ways. When the United States joined the war in 1917, they became a part of the blood bath. They were introduced to a life outside of human imagination. Ibanez brought humanity to an inhumane existence. He manipulated the war to give him a backdrop for a heart-wrenching story about family and unconditional love. Out of the disintegration he brought an uplifting story to the dejected masses dealing with the war and its effects. The novel reached out to people looking for anything that connected with their pain. All of the pain, anguish, strength, and determination exhibited in Don Marcelo as he faces a war come so close he can see it and a son somewhere in its midst become the reader's pain, anguish, strength, and determination. Readers have a character that embodies the human condition in the face of an inhumane existence, and it soothes them. Reviewers also enjoyed the novel for its convictions. The New York Times hails Ibanez for plainly showing in this vivid novel of the war "that his sympathies are wholly enlisted in opposition to the German cause and the German people". Taking sides in the war was a new concept for literature, and Ibanez made no attempt to soften the blow when he introduced readers to the concept. Ibanez portrayed the Germans as calculating, callous, mechanical men. They had no reservations throughout the novel in putting aside human emotions so to follow orders. American readers were given a tangible, concrete expression of their animosity toward the Germans. They opposed the Germans and would fight against them. But to have an accomplished, well-respected writer thousands of miles away voice their same opinions brought a surge of conviction. Readers connected to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to make it a best-seller since they read its message for the abolition of all enemies to progress and freedom in light of losing their family and friends to the war machine. II What was the public persona of the book's author? Ibanez was well known for his previous novels, set in his hometown of Valencia. The novels were artistic masterpieces, describing the land in all its beauty. He had a way of describing things so that they became visible, more than words on a page. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse helped to support that persona. The women and few men left at home saw the war with their own eyes thanks to Ibanez. He brought the surprising and chaotic elements of the war home for civilians. The battle occurring in view of Don Marcelo's castle at Villeblanche was riveting as it described the war scene "vomiting forth something noisy and penetrating?a bubble of vapor accompanied by a deafening report. Something was hurtling through the air with a strident curve. Then a roof in the village opened like a crater, vomiting forth flying wood, fragments of plaster and broken furniture. All the interior of the house seemed to be escaping in a stream of smoke, dirt and splinters" (195). The destruction of war encapsulated in the image of vomiting, an image readers could easily conjure in their minds, followed and preceded many other attempts to relay war in terms the reader could grasp. At another time in the novel, the war became "a cyclone . . . sweeping the length of the wall, tearing up the groves, overturning cannon and carrying away people in a whirlwind as though they were dry leaves. He inferred that Death was now blowing from another direction . . . Now, with the swiftness of an atmospheric change, it was blustering from the" opposite direction (246). Cyclones, dry leaves, atmospheric transitions, the war became a beautiful act of nature. He countered the disintegration of war once again by putting the destruction on his terms. The senseless act of destruction became an artistic display of masterfully used language. Readers became engaged in the way Ibanez wrote The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in much the same way they were by his previous novels. III What factors help explain the book's lifespan? Translated into English in 1918, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is, as of 2002, still in print, easily accessible, and well known. The New York Times, around the book's publication, noticed its unique appeal in that it portrayed the war "through Spanish eyes and with Spanish feeling". The reading public appreciates the perspective of the outsider. Readers are exposed to a culture beyond their own. They hear the thoughts of a different mind surrounded by a different environment. It is appealing to hear a different perspective. Most Americans opposed the war, in agreement with Ibanez, but Ibanez created an opposition wholly and completely his own. The Americans fell in love with the Spanish family, with their values, with their traditions. They united with the father, tortured by his son's involvement in the war, with the son, torn in his decision to enter the war, with the mother, forced to leave everything she knows to seek safety, and they unite with each of these characters across cultural and physical divides. Besides its success in countering the disintegration by offering a connection across cultural and physical divides, the novel remains popular even today due to its subject matter, a warring people. America suffered involvement in another global war only a couple decades after the first. The world continues to deal with conflict even today, whether it is a conflict between countries in the Middle East or between America and another country in the Middle East. Conflict is inevitable when countries have a deep history of conflicting goals, ideals, and beliefs. Ibanez resists the chaos by putting it in the shape of art. He imbues the horror of war with touching Spanish characteristics, elaborate descriptions, and benevolent convictions. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse endures time as a classic by making the novel surpass the limited scope of war. It touches us on a creative level. In conclusion, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a bestseller because of its transformative nature. The war becomes something more than death and destruction. Using war to facilitate a larger message is important because it remains pertinent across time. It must be said that the title of the novel has something to do with its popularity. It is strong, interesting, and mysterious. It encapsulates the transformation of war into art, of a mechanical existence into something creative. A large part of the way through the novel, the reader remains ignorant to the meaning of the title. Ibanez finally reveals its meaning through a conversation between Tchernoff, a Russian revolutionary, Don Marcelo's son, Desnoyers, and Desnoyers's companion, Argensola. Tchernoff begins the explanation of the title while the world around them seems to stop, as if everyone has ceased activity in order to concentrate on Tchernoff, and an eerie quality comes to the novel: And when the sun arises in a few hours, the world will see coursing through its fields the four horsemen, enemies of mankind . . . Already their wild steeds are pawing the ground with impatience; already the ill-omened riders have come together and are exchanging the last words before leaping into the saddle. (116) The horsemen were explained to proceed the beast of the Apocalypse, the end of everything. The first horseman was Plague, riding on a white steed, the second was War, riding on a red steed, the third was Famine, riding on a black steed, and the fourth was Death, riding on a pale-colored steed. Horrid monsters and deformities were believed to swarm above their heads, "like a repulsive escort" (118). God would sleep while the horsemen coursed through the world, leaving in their wake "the athletic man [] hearing the crashing of his broken ribs, the nursing baby [] writhing at its mother's breast, and the aged and feeble [] closing their eyes forever with a childlike sob" (118). The catastrophe of the world was inevitable in the presence of this fourfold doom. The novel attains its greatest example of transforming war into something more by using a title imbued with large structures of mythic meaning. The carnage of World War I made it hard to claim the modern world as civilized. Barbarism was more parallel than anything to the modern world. So, by attaching large structures of mythic meaning to that carnage, there became "a way of making the modern world possible for art", as explained by T. S. Eliot. Ibanez connected the modern world and art with The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
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