Spain was to prove the fundamental political experience of George Orwell’s life. It was here that he witnessed cold-blooded murder and terror. On a couple of occasions, the blood and terror was his own.
He arrived in Barcelona on Boxing Day 1936 in order to offer his services to the second Spanish Republic. After delivering the manuscript of The Road to Wigan Pier to his agent in London, he looked up Henry Miller in Paris. He did not get much encouragement from the American about going for a soldier, except a warm corduroy jacket which was maybe encouragement enough, but at least he kept his tryst with a writer who had helped him feel his way in the world. Then he took the train south to a country in turmoil.
With a letter of introduction from the British Independent Labour Party (ILP), Orwell made his way to the militia barracks…
View original post 8,095 more words