Orwell: dissappointing

I’m afraid I have to agree with this:

2008 Histomat Most Idiotesque Blogger of the Year:
Runner up: As controversial as this sounds, I have to say that for all the massive attention that the blog initially rightly attracted when set up, George Orwell has been slightly disappointing as a blogger so far. Okay, the guy is new to the blogosphere, and needs time to find his feet, but his blog has rarely been worth dropping the dead donkey over (despite his interesting location in Spanish Morocco amidst the dying embers of the Spanish Civil War). We have however learnt a lot about Orwell’s taste in food (he is partial to an egg or two a day), and we have had insight into his love of nature and fascination with the animal kingdom – which no doubt helped shape his great novel Animal Farm. I still have high hopes that Orwell will develop as a blogger over time, even though he is not quite currently living up to my initial billing (as a ‘very much needed new presence in the blogosphere given the kind of idiocy which currently dominates it, not least from those who claim to stand in his legacy yet cheer on imperialist war’ – like ‘Harry’s Place’ – above)

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 5:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz on POUM historiography

A couple of items at Jewcy:

In furtherance of an ongoing interest in the historiography of the Spanish civil war, I note with delight that the Catalan novelist Joan Marsé, born in Barcelona in 1933, has been awarded Spain’s highest literary honor, the Cervantes Prize. While I am normally no fan of such distinctions, which are typically empty and serve to corrupt literary life (see my numerous polemics on the Nobel sweepstakes), the 2008 Cervantes for Marsé is a welcome event.

Marsé remains best known for his novel Si te dicen que caí, written while Spanish dictator Francisco Franco still lived, and translated poorly into English in 1979 as The Fallen. It deals with the fate of anarchists and militants of the Partit Obrer d’Unificacio Marxista or POUM, in which Orwell served, after the triumph of the Nationalist forces in 1939. It was made into a splendid movie by Vicente Aranda Ezquerra, a leading Catalan director – self-taught in film art – who was born in 1926 and lived through the civil war. Aranda is an unabashed sympathizer of the Spanish anarchosyndicalist movement, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and its active cadre formation, the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI). Paradoxically, however, the first offering in a trilogy of his films about the Spanish war, originally titled, like the novel, Si te dicen que caí, but also released under the title Aventis, was more sympathetic to the POUM. [Read the rest]

The Cheapest Transaction

In a newsstand at Barajas Airport in Madrid, the day before I headed back to Kosovo and its echoes of the Spanish civil war, I saw a title on a table of books. It read Las víctimas de Negrín: Reinvindicación del POUM (The Victims of Negrín: Vindication of the POUM). The author was Antonio Cruz González, a Spanish labor activist and historian. [Read the rest]