Christopher Caudwell

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Christopher Caudwell

Christopher Caudwell is the pseudonym of Christopher St John Sprigg (20 October 1907 – 13 February 1937), a British Marxist writer, thinker and poet.


He was born into a Roman Catholic family, resident at 53 Montserrat Road, Putney. He was educated at the Benedictine Ealing Priory School, but left school at the age of 15 after his father, Stanhope Sprigg, lost his job as literary editor of the Daily Express. Caudwell moved with his father to Bradford and began work as a reporter for the Yorkshire Observer. He made his way to Marxism and set about rethinking everything in light of it, from poetry to philosophy to physics, later joining the Communist Party of Great Britain in Poplar, London. In December 1936 he drove an ambulance to Spain and joined the International Brigades there, training as a machine-gunner at Albacete before becoming a machine-gun instructor and group political delegate. He edited a wall newspaper.[citation needed]


He was killed in action on 13 February 1937, the first day of the Battle of the Jarama river. His brother, Theodore, had attempted to have Caudwell recalled by the Communist Party of Great Britain by showing its General Secretary, Harry Pollitt, the proofs of Caudwell's book Illusion and Reality. Caudwell's Marxist works were published posthumously. The first was Illusion and Reality (1937), an analysis of poetry.[citation needed]


Caudwell published widely, writing criticism, poetry, short stories and novels. Much of his work was published posthumously. His mystery novel, Death of an Airman, was re-released in 2015 by The British Library Publishing Division in the United Kingdom and by Poisoned Pen Press in the United States.


"The concept of freedom", 1st edition published by Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1965


  • Title Unknown, The Dial, date unknown. St John Sprigg's first poem
  • Poems (1939)
  • Collected Poems (1986)

Short stories[edit]

Uncollected short stories[edit]

  • ’’The Case of the Jesting Miser’’ (Unpublished)
  • ’’The Case of the Misjudged Husband’’



  • ’’The Kingdom of Heaven’’ (1929)
  • ’’Crime in Kensington’’ / ‘’Pass the Body’’ (1933)
  • ’’Fatality in Fleet Street’’ (1933)
  • ‘’The Perfect Alibi’’ (1934)
  • ’’Death of an Airman’’ (1934)
  • ‘’The Corpse with the Sunburnt Face’’ (1935)
  • ‘’Death of a Queen’’ (1935)
  • ‘’This My Hand’’ (1936)
  • ‘’The Six Queer Things’’ (1937)


See also[edit]

External links[edit]