Spain (Auden)

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First edition

Spain is a poem by W. H. Auden written after his visit to the Spanish Civil War and regarded by some as one of the most important literary works in English to emerge from that war. It was written and published in 1937.

Auden published two versions of the poem, first as a pamphlet Spain (1937), then, in revised form and titled "Spain 1937", in his book Another Time (1940). He later rejected the poem from his collected editions, regarding it as a "dishonest" poem that expressed political views that he never believed but which he thought would be rhetorically effective.

The poem describes the history that led up to the Spanish Civil War, then the arrival of the International Brigades at the war itself, then foresees a possible future that may result from the war.

The poem was widely discussed, notably by George Orwell in "Inside the Whale" (1940) and in E. P. Thompson's reply to Orwell, "Outside the Whale" (Out of Apathy, 1960).

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