George Orwell: The Critical Heritage

By Jeffrey Meyers | Go to book overview

next. Orwell was extremely sceptical of the claim of any cause to represent ‘the living truth’. But he himself in his own life was an example of ‘the lived truth’, which is perhaps the most valuable truth any one can offer to humanity. He made of his own life an acid test of the claims of anti-Fascism in Spain. In political terms a good many of his results are controversial; but as a test of the results of the Spanish War on people’s lives, his position is absolutely irrefutable. He leaves us thinking that it will take more than an ideology to save our time. And no idea will result in anything but the kind of disaster he witnessed in Spain unless it is accompanied by a scrupulous regard for the sacredness of the truth of an individual life. Politically, the liquidation of the POUM was not an event of great importance; humanly speaking, it was a greater failure for the Republic even than the defeat.


42.

T. R. Fyvel, New Leader (New York)

16 June 1952, pp. 22-3

T. R. Fyvel (b. 1907 in Switzerland), friend of Orwell, co-editor of Searchlight Books, writer, journalist and broadcaster.

Turning the pages of the new edition of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, in which he tells of his personal experience during the Spanish Civil War, I felt strangely carried back into a past which has already become part of a dusty history. Homage to Catalonia is one of the most moving and truest accounts of that unhappy conflict. Yet, owing to Communist machinations—for Orwell did not, of course, accept the party-line myth of the war—the book sold poorly when first published in London in 1938 and had not appeared in the United States until this year. The present reissue is doubly useful—first, because it shows how Orwell’s Spanish experiences helped to shape his political ideals, and second, because it throws sharp light on the way in which a whole

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