Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Encyclopedia of Literature: John Hersey Biography to Honest Man's Revenge

Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia

orwell political growing book

a mixture of personal memoir and political analysis of the Spanish Civil War, by George Orwell, published in 1938. Homage to Catalonia includes some of Orwell's most moving and finely judged writing. It is restlessly balanced between an enduring commitment to the ideals of socialism and a growing dismay at the inefficiencies and factionalism of the Republican campaign against Franco. The book opens memorably with a vivid account of the squalor, confusion, and high hopes of revolutionary Barcelona in December 1936, and proceeds to an unflinching portrayal of conditions on the Aragon front during the ensuring winter and spring. Orwell reveals a completely unforced enthusiasm for the social equality that existed briefly in the city and more lingeringly among the left-wing militias: ‘I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites.’ At the same time, his impatience with the lack of weapons and training and the talent for incompetence he encountered among Republicans modulated into a form of despair on his return to Barcelona after a nearly fatal throat wound ended his active service career. The final episode in the book deals with the savage infighting among socialist and anarchist organizations and the subsequent outlawing of the Trotskyist party to whom Orwell was affiliated. The shock of the experience threw him into a passionate commitment to the good faith of individuals caught up in the partisan conflict, as well as a growing awareness of the corruptibility of all revolutionary movements.

William Douglas Home Biography - (1912–92), Now Barabbas, The Chiltern Hundreds, The Reluctant Debutante, The Secretary Bird [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or