Orwell anländer till Barcelona

Den andra volymen av Orwells Complete Works sträcker sig över åren 1937–1939. Det spanska inbördeskriget upptar naturligtvis en avsevärd del av denna volym, som inleds med en beskrivning av Orwell, hämtad ur ett brev som Labour MP:n Jennie Lee skrev till en väninna strax efter Orwells död 1950.

In the first year of the Spanish Civil War I was sitting with friends in a hotel in Barcelona when a tall thin man with a ravished complexion came over to the table. He asked me if I was Jennie Lee, and if so, could tell him where to join up. He said he was an author: had got an advance on a book from Gollancz, and had arrived ready to drive a car or do anything else, preferably to fight in the front line. I was suspicious and asked what credentials he had brought from England. Apparantly he had none. He had seen no-one, simply paid his own way out. He won me over by pointing to the boots over his shoulder. He knew he could not get boots big enough for he was over six feet. This was George Orwell and his boots arriving to fight in Spain.

I came to know him as a deeply kind man and a creative writer. […] He was a satirist who did not conform to any orthodox political or social pattern. […] The only thing I can be quite certain of is, that up to his last day George was a man of utter integrity; deeply kind, and ready to sacrifice his last wordly possessions — he never had much — in the cause of democratic socialism.

Part of his malaise was that he was not only a socialist but profoundly liberal. He hated regimentation wherever he found it, even in the socialist ranks.

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, The Complete Works of George Orwell, vol. XI (1937–1939), artikel 355A, s. 5.

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