By Henri Barbusse
Pour les hommes du 231e régiment d'infanterie, les différences d'âge et de sociale n'importent plus. Tous sont venus s'enterrer dans les tranchées boueuses de Crouy, sous los angeles pluie et le feu de los angeles mitraille allemande. Leur seule certitude face aux armées ennemies : "I'faut t'nir". Barbusse fut l'un des leurs. Tiré de ses carnets de guerre, ce roman, prix Goncourt 1916, révéla à ceux de l'arrière le quotidien des poilus : leur braveness, leur camaraderie, leur argot, mais aussi los angeles saleté, l'attente et l'ennui. Cette guerre, l'état-major, le gouvernement et los angeles presse patriotique los angeles censurent. Il faudra un roman comme Le feu pour en dire toute los angeles barbarie mécanique, mais aussi l'espoir : celui de s'en sortir vivant.
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Extra info for Le feu (Journal d'une escouade)
That strange ly different feeling caught us all together. We sat up in the darkness. Suddenly the weak sobbing of one of the young er boys shook the dark air. Tearfully, he told us of the catastrophe that had befallen our friend. We understood immediately. Groping in the dark, we gathered around the dead boy, now rapidly beginning to turn cold and stiff, who only at nightfall had still been our comrade. We elbowed aside each other’s warm bodies and touched the flesh which had lost its vital heat, then drew our arms back as if recoiling.
Instantly recovering our spirits, we raised a cheer and went running up to them. The cadets turned round at our cheers, but they stood stiffly and made no reply. They were armed with short daggers. With their hard faces, half-open mouths and well shaped heads held straight, they were as beautiful as carefully trained horses. We stopped about a metre away from them and stared at them longingly. No one spoke to them; they too were quiet, looking wan and anxious. These silent cadets, their tender profiles shining in the evening sun peeking through a bare copse on the gentle slope, these young soldiers, silent as if bewildered, exuded an intense, captivating strength like an odour from all over their bodies.
How poor was the meal that was given to us, that awaited us at the end of our long journey. Three basketfuls of scrawny potatoes and a handful of hard rock salt. We were disappointed and angry. But as there was nothing else we could do, we went on patiently eating. We were sitting surrounded by white wTalls and thick crossbeams on the damp tatami of the sanctuary, which was partitioned off from the narrow earth-floored entrance and the toilet by a wooden door. Just by sitting there, we made the interior stuffy.