W. H. Auden’s


(1937) is the most celebrated English poem about the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9, and a major instance of the 1930s literature of moral and political “commitment”. A partisan poem rather than a narrowly propagandist one – it does not plead a cause, nor urge enlistment, nor even directly mention the fascist rebellion against the Spanish Republic – its rhetorical panorama of human history presents the conflict as a moment of urgent choice in which sides must be taken. The terms in which


poses that choice were welcomed by many readers on the political Left, but distrusted as morally objectionable by others, including George Orwell, who later subjected one stanza to scathing – and hastily unjust – commentary in his 1940 essay “Inside the Whale”.…

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Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Spain". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 September 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1919, accessed 17 April 2024.]

1919 Spain 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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