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Modernism and the New SpainBritain, Cosmopolitan Europe, and Literary History$
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Gayle Rogers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199914975

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199914975.001.0001

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. Spain in Translation and Revision

. Spain in Translation and Revision

Spender, Altolaguirre, and Lorca in British Literary Culture

(p.163) 5. Spain in Translation and Revision
Modernism and the New Spain

Gayle Rogers

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the efforts of Stephen Spender, Manuel Altolaguirre, and several of their associates to create a European anti-fascist poetic community for which the bonds between the Auden Generation and the Spanish Generation of ’27 would be central. The frames for this work are the claims by Ortega, in several articles in English, and Altolaguirre, in his journal 1616: English and Spanish Poetry, that England and Spain shared a unique history that compelled cooperation; the attempts, led primarily by Spender, to channel Spanish voices of the conflict through British literary culture; and the battles over the political and cultural significance of Lorca’s assassination. Spender, one of Lorca’s earliest translators, found himself defending his view of the Spaniard’s mutable, populist figure against its misappropriation. With the aid of two Spanish collaborators, Spender influentially characterized him instead as an apolitical Spanish-European poet, and he edited the volume Poems for Spain, which intercalated British and Spanish voices on the war. At the same time, while Poems for Spain evinces the mutual influences of two literary generations, its publication in March 1939, when Franco’s victory was ensured, made it an elegy for the lost Republic. The awkward and ultimately failed literary endeavors taken up in this chapter underwent significant revisions both in Spender’s poetry and in later translations of Lorca.

Keywords:   Stephen Spender, Federico García Lorca, Manuel Altolaguirre, George Orwell, 1616: English and Spanish Poetry, translation, literary politics, Spanish Civil War, poems for Spain

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