University of Tasmania
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The effects of the Spanish Civil War on the writers of the British left : an investigation of political and literary interaction

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posted on 2023-05-27, 07:18 authored by Bonner, FJ
There are times in the history of literature when writers are like hermits and retreat into themselves, writing of personal matters, of fantasy, and shunning any relationship with the contemporary world. There are other times, howrever, when the writers become intensely involved with political movements. This interaction of literary and political viewpoints is generally beneficial to both literature and politics, but usually of more benefit to the latter. Such a time of literary/political interaction occurred in the 1930s prior to and during the Spanish Civil War. It was the war in Spain which brought the political involvement of the writers to a peak, but it was also this war which helped to destroy it. In the Twenties the British people were passing through a period of intense revulsion from war. The First World War had made people realize the horrors of fighting, and it was hoped that by the institution of the League of Nations, war would no longer be the final means of settling disputes among nations. The main object of the study is to investigate the political ideas of various British writers before, during and after a crisis. The chosen crisis is the Spanish Civil War and the writers on whom it had the greatest effect were the young, politically-aware poets, novelists, dramatists and critics who first began to publish their work in the early 1930s. The study will attempt to demonstrate the interdependence of politics and literature in the Thirties and the importance of literary figures to a political movement. It is hoped to reach a final conclusion that writers become important and influential on the eve of a crisis, but that their experience of their own impotence during a war, contrasted with their influence beforehand, causes them to become politically indifferent following the crisis. To achieve this conclusion, it will first be shown that the Thirties witnessed a development of political consciousness among the young writers, the Spanish Civil War intensified and crystallized this political consciousness, but when the young writers were exposed to the harsh political realities of the Spanish Civil War, they became aware of their impotence and generally retreated from politics. However, an attempt will be made to show that these writers were important as propagandists or publicists for their political beliefs whether or not they consciously wrote propaganda.


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Copyright 1968 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (BA (Hons))--University of Tasmania, 1969. Includes bibliographical references

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