History and Legend - Writing the International Brigades
|ISBN: 9780708317747 (070831774X)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Rhagfyr 2002 |
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, CaerdyddFformat: Clawr Caled, 234x156 mm, 286 tudalen
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Astudiaeth o gyfraniad llenorion, artistiaid a deallusion i Ryfel Cartref Sbaen, 1936-39, yn cynnwys arolwg o'r cysylltiad rhwng beirdd a llenorion a ysgrifennai yn Saesneg â'r International Brigades, a'r modd yr oedd eu gwaith yn adlewyrchu delfrydau gwrth -ffasgaidd; gyda nodiadau manwl. 12 llun du-a-gwyn.
A study of the role of writers, artists and intellectuals in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 comprising an exploration of the association between writers in the English language with the International Brigades, and how their works reflected anti-fascist propoganda; with detailed notes. 12 black-and-white illustrations.
'You are History! You are Legend! screamed La Pasionaria (aka Dolores Ibárruri) in her farewell speech to the defeated International Brigades just before they crossed over the Pyrenees and she caught the plane for Moscow in October 1938. The legitimate Republic had been overthrown by Francos insurgents after a civil war that seemed to many to be a trial run for the fight against Fascism which began just a year later.
La Pasionarias valedictory words have resounded down the years as a reminder of the heroic sacrifice made by many foreign soldiers, a few score Welshmen among them, for the sake of democracy and left-wing ideals. They are inscribed on the memorial to the Volunteers which stands in Cardiffs civic centre today.
There were, of course, bloody things done on both sides, atrocity following counter-atrocity by both Republicans and Nationalists. Not even the Brigaders, who were supposed to be fighting for democracy, were wholly innocent of the carnage and, dominated by Communist cadres and commissars, not always able to understand how they were being used.
Robert Stradling, Emeritus Professor of History at Cardiff University, has written what is sure to be a controversial account of the war in that he casts a cold eye on the events of 1936-39 without fear or favour. He concentrates on the responses of writers and artists such as W.H. Auden, George Orwell, Stephen Spender and Benjamin Britten, who led the British Left in favour of the beleaguered Republic.
Of course, the war was not fought primarily for the sake of art or literature, but what this book does is to question the often-made assertion that it was a struggle between the claims of culture for autonomy, even supremacy, and the demands of those who were committed to the political struggle. It dissents from the Republics claim to spiritual superiority and demonstrates how the Socialists and Communists could be every bit as brutal and as hostile to art as those whom they opposed. Fascism, it seems, does not have a monopoly on philistinism.
Professor Stradling has written a stimulating, well researched book that will offend many and perplex a few. It will also be essential reading for those who wish to come to a better understanding of a war that is now fading from human memory but which deserves to be remembered if only for the terrible lessons it has to teach us about politics and literature in time of war and what often replaces them propaganda.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
History and Legend
Writing the International Brigades
pp xvi282 Hardback 234 x 156 mm £35.00ISBN 0-7083-1774-X
You are History! You are Legend! proclaimed La Pasionara to the departing International Brigades in 1938, with an eloquence that established the popular view of the Spanish Civil War as a glorious chapter in the history of humanitys struggle for freedom, inspiring support and commitment across the world.
In this ground-breaking and controversial study of the myths surrounding the International Brigades, Robert Stradling argues that the civil war can be seen as the climax of the struggle between the claims of culture and art for autonomy even for supremacy and the demands of political commitment. Stradling traces this conflict through the reactions of figures such as W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, George Orwell, and Benjamin Britten, as well as many lesser-known writers, and in terms of the Brigades reputation and history in the context of some of the wars key episodes.
History and Legend dissents from the orthodox interpretation of the role of artists and intellectuals in the Spanish Civil War, questions the basis of the Republics claim to spiritual superiority, and analyses the assumptions behind the notion that art and the good cause are necessarily synonymous. It is a major new interpretation of the historical, political and cultural legacy of the International Brigades.
Robert Stradling is Emeritus Professor of History at Cardiff University. His many books include
Europe and the Decline of Spain: A Study of the Spanish System, 1580-1720 (1981),
Philip IV and the Government of Spain 1621-1665 (1998), Cardiff and the Spanish Civil War (1996) and
The Irish and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939: Crusades in Conflict (1999). He is also the co-author of
The English Musical Renaissance, 1860-1940: Construction and Deconstruction (new ed., 2001) and
A Cultural Atlas of Spain and Portugal (1994), as well as the editor of Brother against Brother: Experiences of a British Volunteer in the Spanish Civil War (1998).
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