Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Meanwhile back in revolutionary Spain...

I haven't checked the Orwell Diaries for ages, but it doesn't look like I have missed a great deal (May 1939 finds him to be back in Britain and thinking about manatees of all things). Perhaps of slightly more interest is a forthcoming book by Christopher Hall, 'Not just Orwell’: The Independent Labour Party Volunteers and the Spanish Civil War. As the author notes,

Until now the role of the ILP contingent in the Spanish Civil War has been overshadowed by the fame of George Orwell, and any examination of the ILP volunteers has centred on him. This book includes a brief biography of Orwell as his book Homage to Catalonia is still a major source for any discussion of the ILP contingent. Orwell’s account also provides invaluable descriptions of the way the Spanish militias were organised, trained and armed. As its title clearly states, this book is not solely about Orwell but about the volunteers who served with him.
The book provides the first full account of the ILP contingent’s role in Spain, alongside a list of those men who served in the contingent and their experiences. Stafford Cottman became a friend and advisor to the film director Ken Loach when he was making his 1995 film ‘Land and Freedom’, which was loosely based on Cottman’s experiences. According to his wife, Stella, Cottman attended a film premiere in Bath for ‘Land and Freedom’, and afterwards said: "George Orwell always said, ‘The truth about what happened to the republican cause in Spain will never be told.’ But now it has been." I hope in some small way this book has a similar impact and changes people’s perception of the role of the ILP in the Spanish Civil War.

According to the books publisher, I also learn that in Cannes 'a film adaptation of Homage to Catalonia has been announced to star Colin Firth and Kevin Spacey...'

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At 10:11 am, Anonymous Geoff Collier said...

I notice that the Cannes News, to which your story links, has the sentence "Orwell's book revolves around the real-life story of how he and his wife Eileen traveled to Barcelona to fight Stalinism".

Maybe they should have read my dissertation on Orwell!! I'm looking forward to the film though


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