Waugh and Spanish Civil War

Waugh’s views on the Spanish Civil War recently came up for comment in the TLS.

In his review (July 4) of a recent book about war correspondents in Spain, Hotel Florida by Amanda Vaill, Jeremy Treglown commented that it was unfortunate that Waugh did not report on that conflict because “no one would have communicated its ironies more sharply.” In the July 11 issue, reader Nicholas Rankin noted in a letter to the TLS that although Waugh did not report on the Spanish conflict, he did make his views known in the publication Authors Take Sides on the Spanish War: “If I were a Spaniard I would be fighting for General Franco.” Rankin goes on to comment that Waugh’s detached irony seemed to have failed him when he wrote to Diana Cooper during his subsequent coverage of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia: “i have got to hate the ethiopians more each day goodness they are lousy & i hope the organmen gas them to buggery.”

That is not to say, surely, that Waugh, although he made little effort to show impartiality in reporting that conflict, would have expressed his views in quite those exaggerated terms had he intended them for publication.

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