Christopher Caudwell

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Christopher Caudwell

Christopher Caudwell was the pseudonym of Christopher St John Sprigg (20 October 1907 – 13 February 1937), a British Marxist writer.[1]


He was born into a Roman Catholic family in London, England.[1] He was educated at the Benedictine Ealing Priory School, but left school at the age of 15 and worked first as a cub reporter at the Yorkshire Observer, where his father was literary editor, and then as editor of British Malaya.[1]

According to Marxist historian Helena Sheehan Caudwell became interested in Marxism in 1934 and began to study it with "extraordinary intensity". In the summer of 1935, he wrote his first marxist book entitled Illusions and Reality: A Study of the Sources of Poetry which was published by Macmillan. [1] Following the completion of his book he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

According to the socialist magazine Monthly Review, on 12 February 1937 Caudwell "was killed by fascists in the valley of Jarama during the Spanish Civil War. He died at a machine gun post, guarding the retreat of his comrades in the British Battalion of the International Brigade."[2]

Marxist historian E. P. Thompson writes of Caudwell: "It is not difficult to see Caudwell as a phenomenon – as an extraordinary shooting-star crossing England’s empirical night – as a premonitory sign of a more sophisticated Marxism whose true annunciation was delayed until the Sixties", while Marxist academic John Bellamy Foster similarly credited him with "breathtaking intellectual achievements in a brief period of time".[2]




  • 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  • ’’The Case of the Jesting Miser’’ (Unpublished)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]