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This article discusses the symbiotic relation between Guillaume Apollinaire’s late works and the Great War, focusing on the essay “L’Esprit nouveau et les poètes” and the play Les Mamelles de Tirésias. In these texts Apollinaire forges a new conception of the avant-garde, of its aesthetics and its ideological positions, that stems directly from his own intense experience on the front. The mechanization of the war and its imperial, nationalist politics are channeled through Apollinaire’s bodily experience of warfare that resulted to his wounding. This somatic engagement is transferred on the avant-garde work as an aesthetic principle while it ends up questioning the apparent ideological positions these late works espouse, namely nationalism.