Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Paris. Capital of France in which the members of the Desnoyers family settle after vacating their inherited fortune from the late gaucho grandfather. Don Marcelo and his family establish their residence in avenue Victor Hugo, a posh section for the well to do. Their son, Julio, lives in a studio in rue de la Pompe, apparently to get away from his millionaire father’s scrutiny and his mother’s constant worries about his extravagant ways while claiming that he needs quiet so he can paint. However, free from parental supervision, he carouses well into the night and sleeps well into the day. His Parisian lifestyle reinforces the novel’s depiction of the city’s decadence on the eve of World War I, to whose approach the Desnoyers are oblivious. Meanwhile, rumors of a coming war reach a fever pitch in Paris. Julio’s Russian neighbor equates the coming war with the biblical story of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Plague, War, Famine, Death.


*Berlin. Germany’s capital city is depicted differently. Its residents welcome the prospect of war and celebrate German militarism.


*Lourdes (lewrd). Town in southwestern France near which the Desnoyers own a castle and a cattle farm. After Germany invades France, Don Marcelo travels mostly on foot to the town to check on his property. He finds that the Germans have pillaged the town and his castle, which they make their temporary headquarters. At Lourdes, he finally grasps the reality of war when he sees the full horrors of the German invasion.

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The story develops along fairly straightforward chronological lines. On occasion, readers learn of an omitted detail or a concealed...

(The entire section is 237 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Written at the start of World War I, this novel artfully combines the author's admiration for France and its revolutionary and democratic...

(The entire section is 203 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Blasco Ibanez has stated, more than once, that his greatest role model was Miguel de Cervantes, author of the immortal Don Quixote...

(The entire section is 103 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Please see the biographical entry on Blasco Ibanez.

(The entire section is 8 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Day, A. Grove, and Edgar Knowlton. V. Blasco Ibáñez. New York: Twayne, 1972. A survey of Blasco Ibáñez’s life and canon that includes a discussion of his revolutionary influences, cosmopolitan experiences, interest in social protest and human psychology, glorification of Spain, and intense dislike of Germans.

Howells, William Dean. “The Fiction of Blasco Ibáñez.” Harpers 131 (1915): 956-960. Howells praises Blasco Ibáñez’s literary skill.

Swain, James Q. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez: General Study—Special Emphasis on Realistic Techniques. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1959. One chapter focuses on the realistic images of war in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Wedel, Alfred R. “Blasco Ibáñez’s Antipathy Toward Germans.” Revista de Istorie si Teorie Literara 35 (July-December, 1987): 3-4, 192-200. Discusses the negative portrait of Germans in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.