카탈루냐 찬가 Book reviews

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Author(s): George OrwellDownload  

Description: 

비꽃 세계 고전문학 10권. <1984>가 ‘디스토피아 3대 걸작’ 가운데 하나라면, <카탈루냐 찬가>는 <세계를 뒤흔든 열흘>, <중국의 붉은 별>과 더불어 ‘르포문학 3대 걸작’ 가운데 하나다. 하지만 <세계를 뒤흔든 열흘>과 <중국의 붉은 별>이 혁명가를 열광적으로 찬양한다면, <카탈루냐 찬가>는 그 이면에서 벌어진 이전투구와 내분까지 그려낸, 가장 인간적이면서도 비판적이며 현실적인 작품으로 손꼽힌다.자본주의 사회의 불평등, 억압당하는 인간과 자유 같은 주제에 집착하던 조지 오웰은 1936년에 발발한 스페인 내전에 종군기자로 뛰어드는 순간, ‘노동자 도시’라는 새로운 희망을 목격하고 감동한 나머지, 스페인 현지에서 ‘파시즘과 싸우고 파시스트를 한 명이라도 죽이기 위해’ 총을 들고 내전에 참여한다. 당시에 혁명세력 사이에서 벌어지는 다양한 갈등을 몸으로 체험하고 <카탈루냐 찬가>에 담아냈다.

Some Reviews: 2589 in Goodreads.com

Lisa

Lisa rated it      

“If you had asked me why I had joined the militia I should have answered: ‘To fight against Fascism,’ and if you had asked me what I was fighting for, I should have answered: ‘Common decency.”

Sometimes, when I get particularly frustrated with that strange idealist in me that chose to work with teenage education, I think of George Orwell and his fight in the Civil War in Spain. He knew at some point that the war would be lost, and that both sides in it had major issues, flaws and most of all a great deal of confusion hidden underneath excruciatingly stupid and dishonest propaganda. And yet he fought, for a lost cause, because NOT fighting for human decency was not an option.

Obviously, being a teacher is a positive experience, whereas his was a massive trauma, and I don’t by any means intend to compare teaching to being a soldier. But the mindset of an idealist is the same, – a vague sense of having to do the right thing no matter how tired and frustrated one feels, how badly it pays, and how much aggression one faces.

As always, Orwell manages to highlight the human condition in the mess, both the cowardice and the bravery, the hatred and the love, the destructive powers and the binding culture. Reading Homage To Catalonia is a key to understanding how much love for humankind is hidden underneath the political satire in 1984 and Animal Farm, and in his essays against nationalism.

Because he cared, he was angry.

I can relate to that!

Smiley

Smiley  rated it     

I found this memoir-like book surprisingly interesting and readable in terms of his direct experience in the Spanish Civil War. I think George Orwell didn’t try to be a hero there since he himself was gunned down by a shot through his throat one morning. He simply wrote, “The whole experience of being hit by a bullet is very interesting and I think it is worth describing in detail” (Chapter X, pp. 143-4)

However, his valor didn’t diminish and he still kept writing based on his political ideology. Therefore, while reading his lively words, it’s like you’re in the war yourself and thus we can’t help admiring how he narrated his thought & ideas fearlessly. This obviously has since signified his unique character and integrity in this chaotic world.

Linguistically, reading it has also helped me learn some new adjectives ended with -ish, for instance, longish, sweetish, greenish, sheepish, hellish, darkish, etc. for the first time.

WILLIAM2

WILLIAM2 rated it     

A wonderful book full of the stink and horror of war. The accounts of the Republic’s assaults on the Falange, save for one instance, are pitiful and sickening. Descriptions, too, of Madrid during the conflict the likes of which I have not come across anywhere else. Exquisite and appalling. Read concurrently with Hugh Thomas’ The Spanish Civil War.

John Wiswell

John Wiswell rated it      

As important as Animal Farm and 1984 are, Orwell was probably a better non-fiction writer than a fiction writer. In telling true events he is moved to outright explain his feelings and beliefs in perhaps less quotable, but far more important fashion than his fiction. You almost have to read his descriptions of the Spanish people in this book to truly appreciate the coldness of 1984‘s characters. Dealing with real people and real struggle he wrote his truly most memorable passages – such as why he was disappointed that his time in combat wasn’t bloodier. His fiction is about ideals, but this non-fiction on a real warm, is about humanity. If you liked (or feared) Doublespeak, you must read his observations on what the media did in Spain following the resistence. Fiction has many times surpassed non-fiction in its expressiveness and meaning, but this is a case of extremely political non-fiction that is too salient to be ignored just because his other books are more popular.

Alice Poon

Alice Poon rated it      

This is George Orwell’s vivid account of his six-month (from December 1936 to June 1937) direct involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Other than recounting action-packed combative episodes on the war frontier and treacherous street-fighting scenes in Barcelona, the author also gives a clear-eyed analysis of the mind-boggling multi-faction political strife that prevailed. This essentially boils down to a three-sided struggle between the pro-Franco Fascists (prone to feudalism), the Russian-commissar-controlled Republican government (with bourgeois tendencies) and the revolutionary working-class organizations. He also explains candidly why he thought that the surreptitious manoeuvres of the capitalistic European powers were at least part of the cause for the predictable failure of the Spanish democratic revolution.

This factual non-fiction account reads much like gripping fiction, thanks to Orwell’s fluid style of writing. It is as educational as it is informative.

The one thing that sticks with me is the compliment that Orwell pays to the Spanish people. It makes me want to visit Spain and learn more about Spanish culture.

“I have the most evil memories of Spain, but I have very few bad memories of Spaniards….. They have, there is no doubt, a generosity, a species of nobility that do not really belong to the twentieth century.”

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