George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia is almost certainly the most widely read account of the Spanish Civil War in English. It is a brilliantly written memoir of his experiences, accompanied, sentence after sentence, by acute personal observations and sharp if sometimes flawed political analysis. The tour takes you on his journey from the small Hertfordshire village of Wallington to revolutionary Barcelona and on to fighting with the POUM militia on the Aragón front. Returning to Barcelona we’ll discuss his role in the leftist infighting called the May Days and how he later escaped from the Stalinist-influenced police. Returning to Britain, we’ll talk about the book’s publishing history and impact, and how Orwell’s time in Catalonia and Aragón greatly shaped his future writing. We’ll end by considering how much of his political analysis of the conflict stands up to today’s historical understanding.
Reading and media for Homage to Catalonia
- Homage to Catalonia (Wikipedia)
- Looking back on the Spanish War essay by George Orwell (1943)
- As I please by George Orwell. Column published in Tribune (15 September 1944)
- My guidebook Forgotten Places: Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War is available in print and on Kindle. It includes about 20 pages on Orwell (out of total of 400 pages)
- Lights and shadows in George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. (2017, PDF) Paul Preston’s ferocious critique of Homage to Catalonia
- With the POUM International volunteers on the Aragon Front ( 2018, PDF) By Andy Durgan. Excellent article
- George Orwell’s Commander in Spain: The Enigma of Georges Kopp by Marc Wildemeersch (2013)
- Eileen: The Making of George Orwell by Sylvia Topp (2020)– book review in The New Statesman
- The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984 -book review in The Guardian
- David Crook. The man who spied on Orwell in Barcelona (Wikipedia)
- VIDEO: George Orwell BBC Arena Part 3 Homage to Catalonia (YouTube). Made in 1983
- AUDIO: BBC Radio 4 – Bookclub, George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia
- Tour in Spanish George Orwell en Aragón. Routes in Spanish by Aragonese Orwell expert Victor Pardo. –Centro de Interpretación de la Guerra Civil en Aragón. In the village of Robres.