History and Legend

Writing the International Brigades

Author(s): Robert Stradling

Language: English

Genre(s): Modern Languages

  • December 2002 · 304pages · 234x156mm

  • ·Hardback - 9780708317747

About The Book

In this ground-breaking and controversial study of the myths surrounding the International Brigades, Robert Stradling argues that the civil war can be seen as the climax of the struggle between the claims of culture and art for autonomy - even for supremacy - and the demands of political commitment. Stradling traces this conflict through the reactions of figures such as W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, George Orwell, and Benjamin Britten, as well as many lesser-known writers, and in terms of the Brigades' reputation and history in the context of some of the war's key episodes. History and Legend dissents from the orthodox interpretation of the role of artists and intellectuals in the Spanish Civil War, questions the basis of the Republic's claim to spiritual superiority, and analyses the assumptions behind the notion that 'art' and 'the good cause' are necessarily synonymous. It is a major new interpretation of the historical, political and cultural legacy of the International Brigades.


'Stradling does an inestimable service to our understanding of this massive and historically significant conflict ... '(Autumn 2003)

'...History and Legend is an honest, absorbing and engagingly written study of aspects of the British contribution to the doomed cause of the Spanish republic...this work is meticulously based on evidence gleaned from documentary sources in Britain, Spain and Russia.' History

'...immensely rich and stimulating...it is extremely well-referenced.' Bulletin of Spanish Studies

About the Author(s)

Robert Stradling

Professor Robert Stradling is Emeritus Professor of History at Cardiff University.

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