A twenty-year-old Jean Ross photographed circa 1931.
Jean Iris Ross
7 May 1911
|Died||27 April 1973 (aged 61)|
|Occupation||Film critic, writer, singer|
|Employer||The Daily Worker (film critic)|
The Daily Express (war correspondent)
Peter van Eyck
|Children||Sarah Caudwell (born 1939)|
|Relatives||Olivia Wilde (step-granddaughter)|
Jean Iris Ross Cockburn[a] (// KOH-bərn; 7 May 1911 – 27 April 1973) was a British writer, political activist, and film critic. She was a life-long member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), she was a war correspondent for the Daily Express and is alleged to have been a press agent for the Comintern. A skilled writer, Ross was also a film critic[b] for The Daily Worker, and her criticisms of early Soviet cinema were later described as "ingenious piece[s] of dialectical sophistry." Throughout her life, she wrote political criticism and anti-fascist polemics, as well as manifestos for a number of disparate organizations such as the British Workers' Film and Photo League.
During her itinerant youth in Weimar Berlin, Ross was a cabaret singer and fashion model. She served as the inspiration for the fictional character Sally Bowles in Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories, later adapted into the long-running stage musical Cabaret and chosen by Time magazine as among the best novels of the 20th century. For the remainder of her life, Ross believed the public association of herself with the naïve and apolitical character of Bowles occluded her lifelong work as a professional writer and political activist. Sharing this belief, her daughter Sarah Caudwell later wrote a newspaper article in an attempt to correct the historical record and to dispel misconceptions regarding Ross. According to Caudwell, "in the transformations of the novel for stage and cinema the characterization of Sally [Bowles] has become progressively cruder and less subtle and the stories about 'the original' correspondingly more high-colored."
Early life and work
Raised "in luxury" at Maison Ballassiano in the British protectorate of Alexandria, Egypt, Ross was the eldest daughter of Charles Ross (1880–1938), a Scottish cotton merchant for the Bank of Egypt. She was brought up with her four siblings in a staunchly liberal, anti-Tory household.
Ross was educated in England at Leatherhead Court, Surrey. As an unusually intelligent pupil who had completed all the sixth form curricula by the age of sixteen, she was profoundly "bored" and became openly rebellious when informed that she must remain at school for another year. To gain her freedom, she feigned a teenage pregnancy and was quickly expelled. When the Leatherhead Court schoolmasters realized the pregnancy was feigned, they sequestered the teenage Ross in a nearby sanatorium until her family relatives arrived and retrieved her. Exasperated by her defiant behavior, her parents sent her abroad to Pensionnat Mistral, an elite Swiss finishing school in Neuchâtel; however, Ross was either expelled or fled the school.
Using a trust stipend provided by her grandfather Charles Caudwell who was "a wealthy landowner and industrialist," the teenage Ross returned to England and formally enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After diligently applying herself in her first year, she garnered a coveted acting prize "which entitled her to choose her own role in the next production." When Ross selected the difficult role of Phaedra, however, she was informed that her youth precluded such a tragic role as she lacked the requisite life experience. Hurt by this refusal, the teenage Ross left the academy after one year to pursue a film career.
In 1930, at nineteen years of age, Ross and fellow Egyptian-born actress Marika Rökk obtained her cinematic roles portraying a harem houri in director Monty Banks' Why Sailors Leave Home, an early sound comedy filmed in London. Ross' dark complexion and partial fluency in Arabic were deemed suitable for the role. Disappointed by their small roles, Ross and Rökk heard hopeful rumors that there were ample job opportunities for aspiring thespians in the Weimar Republic of Germany, and the adventurous duo set-off with great expectations for Central Europe.
Ross' excursion to Central Europe proved less successful than she had hoped. Ross was unable to find acting opportunities and, by early 1931, she instead worked as a nightclub singer in the Weimar Republic of Germany. When not singing or modeling, Ross often haunted the offices of the UFA GmbH, the German motion picture production company, in the hopes of landing small film roles as an actress. By Autumn 1931, she obtained a theatrical job as a dancer in theatre director Max Reinhardt's The Tales of Hoffmann, the latter Offenbach's opéra fantastique. (She also performed in Reinhardt's production of Peer Gynt as Anitra.)
Reinhardt's much-anticipated production of The Tales of Hoffmann premiered on November 28, 1931. In the production, reputedly one of the last great triumphs of the Berlin theater scene prior to the Nazi Party's gradual ascent, Ross and a male dancer appeared together as an amorous couple in the stage background and were visible only in silhouette during the Venetian palace sequence of the second act. Later, Ross purportedly[c] boasted that she and the male performer had capitalized on this opportunity for sexual intimacy in full view of the unsuspecting audience.
By Winter 1931, Ross had relocated to Schöneberg, Berlin, where she shared modest lodgings in Fräulein Meta Thurau's flat[d] at Nollendorfstraße 17 with English novelist Christopher Isherwood, whom she had met in October 1930 or in early 1931. An aspiring novelist, Isherwood was politically ambivalent about the rise of fascism and had specifically relocated to Berlin for the gay nightlife. The two became intimate friends. Although Ross' relations with Isherwood were not always amicable,[e] she soon joined Isherwood's social circle alongside more politically-aware poets W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender. Subsequently, "as the sole woman in a group of gay male friends, Ross came to be mythologized by this group in its various memoirs." Among Isherwood's acquaintances, Ross was regarded as sexual libertine devoid of inhibitions who had no qualms about entertaining visitors to their flat while bathing, or about discussing her sexual relations. A contemporary portrait of Ross at twenty years of age appears in Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin when the narrator first encounters the "divinely decadent" Sally Bowles:
"I noticed that her fingernails were painted emerald green, a colour unfortunately chosen, for it called attention to her hands, which were much stained by cigarette smoking and as dirty as a little girl's. She was dark... Her face was long and thin, powdered dead white. She had very large brown eyes which should have been darker, to match her hair and the pencil she used for her eyebrows."
Isherwood further described the youthful Ross as physically resembling Merle Oberon but that her face naturally possessed a sardonic humor akin to comédienne Beatrice Lillie. Their ramshackle flat at Nollendorfstraße 17 was in "a working-class district" near the epicenter of Weimar Berlin's radical enclaves, subversive activity, and gay nightlife. By day, Ross was a fashion model for popular magazines. By night, she was a bohemian chanteuse singing in the nearby cabarets located along the Kurfürstendamm avenue, an "entertainment-vice district" which was singled out for future destruction by Joseph Goebbels in his 1928 journal. These cabarets would be shuttered by the Brownshirts when the Nazi Party seized power in early 1933. Isherwood visited these nightclubs to hear Ross' sing. He later described her voice as poor but nonetheless startlingly effective:
Due to her acquaintanceship with Isherwood, Ross would later become immortalized as "a bittersweet English hoyden" named Sally Bowles in Isherwood's 1937 eponymous novella and his 1939 book Goodbye to Berlin. While in Isherwood's company, she was introduced to American writer Paul Bowles when he briefly visited Berlin. Bowles was a gay American writer who would later garner acclaim for his post-colonial novel The Sheltering Sky. This first meeting between Jean Ross and Paul Bowles ostensibly made a considerable impression upon Isherwood as he later used Paul Bowles' surname as the pseudonym for the character of Sally Bowles based upon Ross. Isherwood later noted that Ross was "more essentially British than Sally [Bowles]; she grumbled like a true Englishwoman, with her 'grin-and-bear-it' grin. And she was tougher."
Although Isherwood sometimes did have sex with women, Ross—unlike the fictional character of Sally—never tried to seduce Isherwood, although they were forced to share a bed together when their flat became overcrowded with visiting revelers. Instead Isherwood settled into a same-sex relationship with a working-class German young man named Heinz Neddermeyer, while Ross entered into a variety of heterosexual liaisons including one with "a tall blond Jewish musician" Götz von Eick, later known as actor Peter van Eyck and star of Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear.
When Eyck met Ross, he earned his livelihood as a jazz pianist in Berlin cabarets while Ross sang to his music. Either during their brief relationship or soon after their separation, Ross realized she was pregnant. She nearly died after an abortion procedure legally authorized by Isherwood who, as a personal favor to Ross, falsely claimed in hospital documents to be her heterosexual impregnator. This incident inspired Isherwood to write his story Sally Bowles and serves as its narrative climax.
Rise of the Nazis and Departure
By 1932, the Weimar Berlin that Ross, Isherwood, and other British expatriates witnessed was "already in the grip of the Depression, with masses of people unemployed." Consequently, Berlin's daily scenes featured "poverty, unemployment, political demonstrations and street fighting between the forces of the extreme left and the extreme right."
As the political situation rapidly deteriorated in Berlin, Ross, Isherwood, Spender, and others realized that they must leave Germany. "There was a sensation of doom to be felt in the Berlin streets," Spender recalled. In the July 1932 elections, the Nazis achieved a majority in the Reichstag and, by August that same year, Ross had departed Germany for good and returned[g] to southern England. Within a year, Adolf Hitler's ascendance as German Chancellor and the increasing prevalence of xenophobic Nazism in the country would preclude both Ross and Isherwood from returning to their beloved Berlin.
Activities in London
Joining the Communist Party
Now in southern England, Ross resided at Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London, and continued to fraternize with Isherwood and his circle of artistic friends, however, she began to increasingly associate with left-wing political activists "who were humorous but dedicated, sexually permissive but politically dogmatic." During this time period, she was introduced to Claud Cockburn, an Anglo-Scots journalist and the second cousin, once removed, of novelists Alec Waugh and Evelyn Waugh.
They met[h] at the Café Royal. Purportedly, Cockburn handed Ross a cheque one evening but—perhaps having second thoughts—he telephoned the next morning to warn her that the cheque would bounce. In a subsequent evening, Cockburn expounded upon the nuances of Marxist economic theory to Ross all night until the early morning hours. Cockburn later claimed that he convinced Ross to become a left-wing journalist and secured her employment at The Daily Worker.
Due to Cockburn's influence, Ross formally joined the Communist Party of Great Britain during the tenure of General Secretary Harry Pollitt. She would be an active and devoted Party member for the remainder of her life. Meanwhile, she continued her career as an aspiring thespian. She appeared in theatrical productions at the Gate Theatre Studio directed by Peter Godfrey and, in need of money, she modelled the latest Paris fashions by French designer Jean Patou in Tatler magazine. She also possibly[i] obtained a bit role as a chorus girl in Paramount Studios' musical drama film Rumba.
Isherwood and Viertel
While in England, Ross' connections to the British film industry proved crucial to Isherwood's future career. Ross had only spent eighteen months or so in Berlin between 1932 and 1933, but "during this time she became fluent enough in German so that, upon her return to England, she was able to work as a bilingual scenarist in the British film industry with Austro-German directors who had fled the Third Reich." One of these Austrian directors was Berthold Viertel who became Ross' friend.
At the time, translators were sorely needed in the film industry to facilitate productions headed by such Austro-German directors who were now subsisting in the United Kingdom. Aware that Isherwood was living in reduced circumstances at the time, Ross induced her friend Viertel to hire Isherwood as a translator. As repayment, Ross asked Isherwood to promise to give half of his first week's salary from the job to her. However, after obtaining the job, Isherwood either reneged upon or forgot this agreement with Ross, and this incident may have contributed to the later souring of their friendship. Viertel and Isherwood soon collaborated upon a film which would become Little Friend (1934), and this collaboration subsequently launched Isherwood's long, successful career as a screenwriter in Hollywood.
During this period in 1933, Isherwood composed the nucleus of a short story about Ross' abortion in Berlin that would later become his 1937 novella Sally Bowles. Dissatisfied with its structure and quality, Isherwood rewrote the manuscript during the subsequent years. He eventually sent the manuscript to editor John Lehmann to be published in New Writing, a new literary periodical. However—when Isherwood informed Lehmann that his story was based on factual events—the editor became worried about the story's climax since it drew upon Ross' abortion. Lehmann believed that Ross would file a successful libel suit against both Isherwood and himself if the story were published.
Anxious to avoid a libel suit, Isherwood implored Ross to give him permission to publish the story. Ross' reluctance delayed the publication of the manuscript. As abortion was a controversial topic in 1930s England and still carried the penalty of life imprisonment, Ross feared Isherwood's thinly-disguised story recounting her lifestyle and abortion in Berlin would further strain her tempestuous relationship with her status-conscious family. In order to prevail upon Ross to give consent for the novella's publication, Isherwood claimed he was in the most dire financial circumstances. As Ross herself was often impoverished, she sympathized with any friend in similar impecunious straits. Accordingly, as a personal favor to Isherwood, she yielded her objections to the publication of Sally Bowles, The novella was then published by Hogarth Press. Following the tremendous success of the Sally Bowles novella, Ross regretted this decision and believed it had permanently harmed her reputation. Now deeply committed to the socialist cause, Ross later noticed that Isherwood's story undermined her standing "among those comrades who realized she was the model for Sally Bowles."
Workers' Film and Photo League
Circa 1934–1935, while in England, Ross wrote the fiery manifesto for the short-lived British Workers' Film and Photo League and also served as its General Secretary. Much like its communist-backed U.S. counterpart, the British Workers Film and Photo League's main objective was to launch a cultural counter-offensive to the "bourgeois" and "nauseating" films produced by capitalist societies such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The organization sought to bring anti-capitalist "revolutionary films to workers organizations throughout the country." Despite its limited personnel and modest funds, the League produced newsreels, taught seminars on working-class film criticism, organized protests against "reactionary pictures," and screened the latest blockbusters of Soviet Russia to cadres of like-minded cineastes. They frequently screened such motion pictures as Storm over Asia (1928), Ten Days That Shook the World (1928), Road to Life (1931), and China Express (1929).
During Ross' tenure as General Secretary, the League was closely tied to the Friends of the Soviet Union and often sublet its office space to the latter collective. Upon her resignation as the League's Secretary, Ross continued to serve as a League member and helped produce the short film Defence of Britain in March 1936. Drawing upon her family's resources, Ross also personally donated a considerable sum to the fledgling organization in February 1936. However, another League member named Ivan Seruya purportedly embezzled the majority of Ross' donation in order to finance his own private venture International Sound Films. This incident and the subsequent dearth of organizational funds reportedly contributed to the League's lack of progress as well as its eventual demise in 1938.
Film Criticism for The Daily Worker
Circa 1935–6, Ross was the film critic for The Daily Worker. She wrote her reviews using the alias Peter Porcupine, which she presumably adopted this nom de plume as a homage to radical English pamphleteer William Cobbett who had famously used the same pseudonym. Ross interest in film criticism had purportedly begun earlier in Weimar Berlin when she often attended the cinema together with Isherwood, Auden, and Spender. According to Spender, their quartet of friends collectively viewed upon release such notable films as Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel. They were particularly fond of "heroic proletarian films" such as G. W. Pabst's Comradeship, as well as "Russian films in which photography created poetic images of labor and industry" exemplified in Ten Days That Shook the World and The Battleship Potemkin.
Pursuing this interest after her return to England, Ross became the film critic of The Daily Worker in a tumultuous era which fellow critic Dwight Macdonald described as spanning the Golden Age and Iron Age[j] of Soviet cinema:
"Those were the years when one went to the 'little' movie houses which showed Russian films as one might visit a cathedral or museum — reverently, expectantly. One joined a congregation of avant-garde illuminati, sharing an exhilarating consciousness of experiencing a new art form — many, including myself, felt it was the great modern art. In the darkened auditorium, one came into contact with the twentieth century."
In her film criticism, Ross insisted that "the workers in the Soviet Union [had] introduced to the world" new variations of this art form with "the electrifying strength and vitality and freedom of a victorious working class." Her reviews of early Soviet cinema were later described by scholars as "ingenious piece[s] of dialectical sophistry."
Eve of the Spanish Civil War
In mid-September 1936, while the Spanish Civil War was in its first year, Ross might[k] have met English poet and communist John Cornford at the Horseshoes pub in England while in the company of his friend John Sommerfield. As "the first Englishman to enlist against Franco," Cornford had just returned from the Aragon front where he had served with the P.O.U.M. militia near Saragossa and fought in the early battles near Perdiguera and Huesca. Cornford had then returned to England from Barcelona in order to recruit volunteers to combat the fascists in Spain.
Following the initial meeting[l] between Ross and Cornford, a near brawl occurred at the pub when an ex-fascist volunteer who had been in the Irish Brigade was present and almost came to blows with Cornford over the subject of the war. After leaving the pub, Cornford and Ross went for dinner to Bertorelli's on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, central London, where Ross impressed Cornford with her knowledge of ongoing political matters in Spain, as well as between England and Germany. By the end of the evening, Cornford and Ross may have become a couple.
Cornford possibly[k] moved into Ross' apartment in the ensuing weeks while he recruited volunteers to return en masse with him to Spain. While living with Ross, Cornford published his first book of poems and worked on a Lysistrata translation. However, if such a relationship occurred,[k] this brief union was not to last due to their mutual commitment to fighting Franco in Spain.
Arrival in Republican Spain
In September 1936, Ross traveled to war-torn Spain either in the company of Claud Cockburn or separately.[m] At this point, Cornford had returned to Spain with twenty-one British volunteers to fight the fascists and had become "the acknowledged leader among the British contingent in the International Brigades." He served with a mitrailleuse unit and fought in the Battle of Madrid in November and December 1936. During the subsequent battle for University City, he was wounded by a stray anti-aircraft shell. Despite his injuries, he then served with the English-speaking volunteers of the Marseillaise Brigade and was killed in action at Lopera, near Córdoba on 27 or 28 December.
Upon hearing of Cornford's death, Ross may have been emotionally devastated and may have attempted to kill herself with an overdose of sleeping pills. Decades later, she would confide to her acquaintance John Sommerfield during a personal conversation that Cornford "was the only man [she] ever loved." The death of Cornford and other friends in the service of the doomed Republican cause likely solidified[n] Ross' anti-fascist sentiments, and she remained in Republican Spain throughout the prolonged conflict as a war correspondent for The Daily Express.
Journalist and Propagandist
Throughout the Spanish Civil War, Ross worked for the London branch office of the Espagne News-Agency, also known as the Spanish News Agency. During Ross' tenure in the organization, the Espagne News-Agency was accused by journalist George Orwell of being a Stalinist apparatus which disseminated false propaganda[o] in order to undermine anti-Stalinist factions on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War. In particular, during the Barcelona May Days, when anarchist factions on the Republican side were annihilated by Stalinist-backed troops, the Espagne News-Agency and The Daily Worker published false claims in that the anarchists had been planning a coup and were secretly allied with the fascists and thus justified their extermination.
All of the agency's staff—including Ross—were "trusted junior functionaries of the Comintern apparatus," the international Communist organization determined to create a worldwide Soviet republic. Ross' fellow Comintern propagandists included Hungarian-British journalist Arthur Koestler, Willy Forrest, Mildred Bennett of the Moscow Daily News, and Claud Cockburn.[p]
Ross and Cockburn became closer[m] as the civil war progressed in Spain. By this time, Cockburn was "a leading British Communist Party member" and, within a span of five years, he would rise to be a leader of the Comintern in Western Europe. While covering the Spanish Civil War for The Daily Worker in 1936, Cockburn had joined the elite Fifth Regiment of the left-wing Republicanos battling the right-wing Nacionales and, when not fighting, he gave sympathetic[q] coverage to Communist Party.
While Cockburn fought with the Fifth Regiment, Ross served as a war correspondent for The Daily Express. When Cockburn was at the frontlines, Ross ghost-wrote his columns for him, "imitating his style and filing it at The Daily Worker under his name, while at the same time continuing to send her own reports to the Express." During this time, Ross herself was embedded with Republican defenders in the Spanish capital city of Madrid.
Among the other foreign correspondents alongside Ross in besieged Madrid were journalist Herbert Matthews of The New York Times, Ernest Hemingway of the North American Newspaper Alliance, Henry Tilton Gorrell of the United Press International, and Martha Gellhorn of Collier's magazine, as well as Josephine Herbst. Ross and other foreign correspondents often dined together for lunch and dinner in the ruined basement of the Gran Via, "the only restaurant open in the whole of Madrid" during the relentless bombardment by fascist troops. The basement restaurant was heavily guarded by armed Loyalist sentries, and no one was permitted entry without a press pass.
Reporting on the Southern Front
In Spring 1937, as the civil war progressed, Ross, her friend Richard Mowrer of The Chicago Daily News and their guide Constancia de la Mora traveled to Andalusia to report on the southern front. To this end, Ross investigated and reported upon war-time conditions in Alicante, Málaga, and Jaén. The latter town had been bombed a week before her arrival by a squadron of German Junkers 52. Amid the rubble, Ross reported on the bombing's death toll and interviewed the mothers whose children had perished in the bombardment as well as other survivors. She then proceeded to Andújar where—amid the ongoing battle and machine-gun fire—she interviewed Colonel José Morales, a commander of the southern armies.
Following her interview with Morales, the convoy in which Ross was traveling faced recurrent enemy fire and later, during the evening outside a monastery, were bombed by a fascist air patrol. De la Mora vividly recalled this bombing as one of the daily perils which Ross and other pro-Republican journalists endured to report news from the front lines:
"In the dusk, I saw Mowrer and Jean Ross running down the road. I began to run. The sound of the planes, the low roar of the motors, filled my ears and head and heart and throat. I ran faster and faster. [...] Suddenly the whole mountain exploded with a noise so hideous, so vast, that the ear was not shaped to comprehend it. The ground where I lay trembled I felt it move against my body. The sound began to diminish. [...] Jean Ross and Mowrer came down the road. We made jokes."
During her time in Andújar, Ross would endure nine aerial bombardments by German Junkers and survived each despite the lack of air raid shelters. Recalling these events, Mora described Ross as a fearless reporter who had seemingly resigned herself to death and looked "as natural as possible" when the bombs fell. Following her reporting in Andújar, Ross continued to report from the battle-lines of the Córdoba and Extremadura fronts. She would report on the progress of the war, often from the front lines of the Republican forces, over the next year.
Fall of Madrid and Return to England
In Winter 1938, while pregnant with Cockburn's child, Ross witnessed the final months of the Siege of Madrid and endured aerial bombardment by Francoist attackers. By the time the besieged city fell to the Nationalist armies on 28 March 1939, a pregnant Ross had already returned to England. Her wartime experiences—especially the atrocities she witnessed and the friends she lost in combat—solidified her lifelong commitment[n] to anti-fascist resistance.
Sixty days after Madrid fell to the Nationalist forces, Ross gave birth to a daughter by Claud Cockburn. The child Sarah Caudwell—born 27 May 1939—was the only offspring of their union. Although some sources allege that Ross did not marry Cockburn due to her political beliefs regarding women's emancipation, in actuality Cockburn was still married under British law to his first wife Hope Hale Davis and hence he could not marry[a] Ross at that time without committing bigamy. Whether or not Ross knew that Cockburn was still legally married to Davis is unknown. However, several months before the birth of their child, Ross had filed a deed poll in which she changed her surname to Cockburn.
The same year that Ross became pregnant with Cockburn's child and that their daughter was born, Cockburn entered into a clandestine relationship with Patricia Arbuthnot. In August 1939, three months after the birth of their daughter, Cockburn "walked out" on Ross and their newly-born child to cohabitate with Arbuthnot. Cockburn would later omit all mention of Ross from his memoirs.
Later life and death
World War II and Post-War Years
Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Ross, her daughter Sarah, and her widowed mother Clara Caudwell moved to Hertfordshire. Ross became friends with Isherwood's old acquaintance Edward Upward and his wife Hilda Percival whom were both socialists in outlook. Upward later met Olive Mangeot through their attendance of Communist Party meetings, and the two began an extramarital affair. Olive—whom Isherwood depicted as Marvey Scriven in The Memorial and as Madame Cheuret in Lions and Shadows—eventually separated from her husband Andre Mangeot and lived in Gunter Grove where she invited Jean Ross and her daughter Sarah to live with her.
For many years, Ross and her daughter Sarah lived as Olive's boarders in modest circumstances in Gunter Grove. Much like Ross, Mangeot once had been an apolitical bohemian in her youth and transformed with age into a devout Stalinist who sold The Daily Worker and was an active member of various left-wing circles. According to Isherwood, Mangeot, Ross, and their social circle staunchly refused to consort with Trotskyites or other communist schismatics who had strayed from the Stalinist party line.
Parenthood and Socialist Activities
For the remainder of her adult life, Ross devoted herself to two causes: Advancing the ideology of socialism and raising her only daughter Sarah. In order to obtain the "best education" available for Sarah, Ross relocated with her child to Scotland. In 1960, they returned to Barnes, London, for Sarah to attend Oxford University. They lived with Jean's sister, Margaret "Peggy" Ross, a sculptor and painter trained at the Liverpool School of Art. At this point, Ross acted as a caretaker for both her invalid sister Peggy, who had severe arthritis affecting her mobility, and her ailing mother Clara who had a debilitating stroke. Under Ross' tutelage, her daughter Sarah became one of the first women to join the Oxford Union as a student and to speak in the Oxford Union's Debating Chamber. She later taught law at Oxford, became a senior executive at Lloyds Bank and later became a celebrated author of detective novels.
While Sarah was at Oxford, Ross continued to engage in political activities ranging from protesting nuclear weapons to opposing the war in Vietnam. Even at an advanced age, she continued to make daily rounds to neighboring houses to sell copies of The Daily Worker and participated in raising awareness regarding ongoing political campaigns. Acquaintances who met Ross during the later decades of her life noted that various hardships and impoverished economic circumstances had taken its toll on her. "She seemed burn-out," Sommerfield recalled, "with bruise marks under her eyes and lines of discontent round her mouth; her once beautiful black hair looked dead, and she wore too much make-up, carelessly applied. Only her voice was the same, a rapid, confiding drawl full of italics. She was still using the slang and political cliches of her youth, and trying to shock with a freedom of speech that now was taken for granted." By this time, she had few clothes and very little money.
Ross and writer Isherwood met a final time shortly before her death. In a diary entry for 24 April 1970, Isherwood recounted in a diary entry their final reunion in London:
"I had lunch with Jean Ross and her daughter Sarah [Caudwell], and three of their friends at a little restaurant in Chancery Lane. Jean looks old but still rather beautiful and she is very lively and active and mentally on the spot — and as political as ever. [...] Seeing Jean [again] made me happy; I think if I lived here I'd see a lot of her that is — if I could do so without being involved in her communism."
Dislike of Sally Bowles and Cabaret
According to Ross' daughter Sarah Caudwell, her mother detested her popular identification with the vacuous character of Sally Bowles. She believed the political indifference of the character more closely resembled Isherwood himself or his hedonistic friends, many of whom "fluttered around town exclaiming how sexy the Stormtroopers looked in their uniforms." Ross' opinion of Isherwood's own beliefs is partly confirmed by Isherwood biographer Peter Parker who wrote that Isherwood was "the least political" of W. H. Auden's social circle in Weimar Berlin, and Auden himself noted the young Isherwood "held no [political] opinions whatever about anything."
According to her daughter, Ross further disliked the character of Sally Bowles as the character offended her feminist convictions: Isherwood's fictionalized depiction of Ross employed a literary convention which necessitated "that a woman must be either virtuous (in the sexual sense) or a tart. So Sally, who is plainly not virtuous, must be a tart to depend for a living on providing sexual pleasure." Such a submissive gender role would have "seemed to [Ross] the ultimate denial of freedom and emancipation."
Above all, however, Ross resented that Isherwood's 1937 novella Sally Bowles had depicted Ross as expressing anti-Semitic bigotry. In the 1937 story, Bowles laments bedding an "an awful old Jew" in order to obtain money. Ross' daughter insisted that such racial bigotry "would have been as alien to my mother's vocabulary as a sentence in Swahili; she had no more deeply rooted passion than a loathing of racialism and so, from the outset, of fascism." Accordingly, due to her unyielding dislike of fascism, Ross was incensed that Isherwood had depicted her as thoughtlessly allied in her beliefs "with the [racist] attitudes which led to Dachau and Auschwitz." In recent decades, some writers have argued the anti-Semitic remarks in the 1937 novella Sally Bowles are actually a reflection of Isherwood's own much-documented[r] prejudices. In Peter Parker's biography, "Isherwood is revealed as being fairly anti-Semitic to a degree that required some emendations of the Berlin novels when they were republished after the war."
Isherwood never publicly confirmed that Ross was his model for Sally Bowles until after her death. However, other mutual acquaintances were less discreet. Ross herself indicated that her former partner, journalist Claud Cockburn, had leaked to his friends in the press that she had inspired the character. In 1951, poet Stephen Spender publicly confirmed that Bowles was based on a real person in his autobiography World Within World, and he further confirmed the abortion incident was factual. Later, Gerald Hamilton—the inspiration for "Mr. Norris"—identified Ross as Sally Bowles in his 1969 memoir The Way It Was With Me due to a public feud[s] with her Bowles' former partner Claud Cockburn. Consequently, when Cabaret garnered acclaim in the late 1960s, Ross was tracked down by journalists and hounded with intrusive questions, particularly by the ruthless Daily Mail.
Badgered by the press, Ross refused to discuss her sexual misadventures in Weimar Berlin. Her daughter claimed the journalist's relentless interrogations "were invariably a disappointment on both sides: the journalists always wanted to talk about sex" while Ross "always wanted to talk about politics." Ross bitterly noted that reporters always claimed to seek knowledge "about Berlin in the Thirties" and yet they did not wish "to know about the unemployment or the poverty or the Nazis marching through the streets — all they want to know is how many men I went to bed with." Ross became particularly incensed when the reporters attempted to ascribe her many sexual affairs to her feminist beliefs:
"They asked if I was a feminist. Well, of course I am, darling. But they don't think that feminism is about sex, do they? It's about economics."
Ross steadfastly declined invitations to watch Cabaret or any related adaptations. Her ambivalence towards the popular success of Cabaret was not unique among Isherwood's acquaintances: The poet Stephen Spender lamented how Cabaret glossed over Weimar Berlin's crushing poverty, and he later noted that there was "not a single meal or club in the movie Cabaret that Christopher and I could have afforded." Both Spender and Ross often contended that Isherwood's stories glamorized and distorted the harsh realities of 1930s Berlin. In Ross' own words, Isherwood's "story was quite, quite different from what really happened." However, she admitted that the depiction of their social group of British expatriates as pleasure-seeking libertines was accurate: "We were all utterly against the bourgeois standards of our parents' generation. That's what took us to [Weimar-era] Berlin. The climate was freer there."
Portrayals and Legacy
Christopher and His Kind (2011)
In 2011, British actress Imogen Poots portrayed Jean Ross in the BBC film Christopher and His Kind in which she starred opposite Matt Smith as Christopher Isherwood. For her performance, Poots attempted to show Ross' personality as "convincingly fragile beneath layers of attitude," but Poots did not wish to depict Ross as a talented singer. Poots explained that—in her estimation—if "Jean had been that good,[f] she wouldn't have been wasting her time hanging around with Isherwood in the cabarets of the Weimar Republic, she would have been on her way, perhaps, to the life she dreamed of in Hollywood."
Sally Bowles—the fictional character inspired by Ross—has been portrayed by a number of actress over the decades: Julie Harris in I Am a Camera, the 1951 adaptation of Goodbye to Berlin and the 1955 film adaptation of the same name; Jill Haworth in the original 1966 Broadway production of Cabaret; Judi Dench in the original 1968 West End stage version of Cabaret; Liza Minnelli in Bob Fosse's 1972 film adaptation of the musical, and Natasha Richardson in the 1998 Broadway Revival of Cabaret. In 1979, critic Howard Moss of The New Yorker noted the peculiar resiliency of the character: "It is almost fifty years since Sally Bowles shared the recipe for a Prairie oyster with Herr Issyvoo in a vain attempt to cure a hangover" and yet the character in "subsequent transformations" lives on "from story to play to movie to musical to movie-musical."
In turn, the character of Sally Bowles purportedly inspired Truman Capote's Holly Golightly in his famed novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Critic Ingrid Norton has posited that Isherwood's Bowles was the key model for Capote's Golightly character. Norton has alleged that both scenes and dialogue in Capote's 1958 novella have direct equivalencies in Isherwood's earlier 1937 work. Capote had befriended Isherwood in New York in the late 1940s, and Capote was an admirer of Isherwood's novels.
These Foolish Things
As well as inspiring the characters of Holly Golightly, and Sally Bowles, Ross has been credited as the inspiration for one of the twentieth century's most enduring popular songs, "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)". Although Maschwitz's wife Hermione Gingold speculated in her autobiography that the haunting jazz standard was written for either herself or actress Anna May Wong, Maschwitz's own autobiography contradicts such claims. Maschwitz cites "fleeting memories of [a] young love" as inspiring the song. Most sources, including the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, posit cabaret singer Ross, with whom Maschwitz had a youthful romantic liaison, as the muse for the song.
- Contrary to sources such as Linda Mizejewski, Ross and Cockburn never legally married as Cockburn was uncertain whether his divorce from his American first wife Hope Hale Davis was valid in England. Whether or not Ross knew that Cockburn was still legally married to Davis is unknown. However, several months before the birth of their child, Ross filed a deed poll in which she changed her surname to Cockburn, see "No. 34604". The London Gazette. 3 March 1939. p. 1518.
- Ross wrote most of her articles using the alias Peter Porcupine.
- In 1986, many years after Ross' death, her daughter Sarah Caudwell cast doubt upon Isherwood's claims of Ross' sexual exhibitionism in Reinhardt's The Tales of Hoffmann production. However, acquaintance Gerald Hamilton claimed that a youthful Ross was known for her sexual exhibitionism including entertaining guests in the nude.
- Isherwood claimed that Fräulein Meta Thurau "was tremendously intrigued by her [Ross'] looks and mannerisms, her makeup, her style of dressing, and, above all, her stories about her love affairs. But she didn't altogether like Jean. For Jean was untidy and inconsiderate; she made a lot of extra work for her landladies. She expected room service and would sometimes order people around in an imperious tone, with her English upper-class rudeness."
- As Isherwood relates in Christopher and His Kind, "Both of them [Isherwood and Ross] were selfish and they often quarreled." In his autobiography World Within World, Stephen Spender implies the relations between Isherwood and Ross in Berlin were sometimes acrimonious: In one chapter, he relates Isherwood referring to Ross as "a bitch" for snidely claiming that he might one day "write something really great, like Noel Coward."
- Ross later disputed Isherwood's evaluation of her singing voice. She insisted that she was a far better singer than he claimed. However, several of Ross' family members—including her daughter—concurred with Isherwood's assessment.
- Isherwood inaccurately claimed in an interview that Ross went immediately from Germany to Spain to join the Spanish Civil War. This was incorrect. In Christopher and His Kind, Isherwood states Ross returned to England first and then went to Spain.
- Gerald Hamilton hypothesized that Ross and Cockburn might have been acquaintances as far back as Berlin in 1930. However, other sources contradict this statement and assert that Jean Ross and Claud Cockburn did not meet until after Ross moved back to London.
- Isherwood asserts in his memoir Christopher and His Kind that Ross never traveled to the United States of America during her lifetime. As such, she could not have filmed Rumba (1935) in Hollywood. Hence, she is perhaps wrongly accredited as having a role in the film.
- The 1930–1932 period of Soviet cinema and subsequent years were dubbed by film critics as its "Iron Age." This was an era in which state policy "laid waste to the once-flourishing cinema industry as effectively as it laid waste to the fertile Ukrainian farmlands."
- The unconfirmed relationship between Ross and John Cornford is primarily drawn from John Sommerfield's semi-autobiographical 1977 work The Imprinted. This work is both a memoir and a novel with factual events and fiction interwoven. Sommerfield was a close friend of Cornford and fought in the Spanish Civil War alongside him.
- John Sommerfield recalled Cornford and himself first meeting Ross in his semi-autobiographical work The Imprinted, which draws heavily upon his personal experiences in the 1930s. He described her as "a dark, slim girl, stylishly dressed, not like most of the girls we used to meet." She spoke in a well-mannered style and "gave out a sort of high class sexiness that made you feel there was something special about her, that she was a prize."
- Isherwood biographer Peter Parker claims Ross was "on holiday with [Claud] Cockburn in Spain when the civil war broke out" and that "the couple stayed there as reporters."
- In a 1974 television interview with James Day, Isherwood asserted that Ross' lifelong commitment to Marxism occurred after her sojourn in Weimar Berlin and was "the one subject on which she [Ross] was a bit boring because she [always] echoed the [Stalinist] party line."
- As recounted by George Orwell, the Espagne News-Agency reportedly published false stories about prominent anti-Stalinist communists and anarchists who had been secretly executed by the NKVD in Madrid. For example, the agency falsely reported that anti-Stalinist communist Andrés Nin—who had been tortured and executed—was alive and well in a fascist sanctuary.
- In 1936, Claud Cockburn, "under the name Frank Pitcairn, reported on the Spanish Civil War for The Daily Worker, later becoming its Foreign Editor. In 1939 he was a leading British Communist Party member and was said to be a leader of the Comintern in Western Europe."
- As the conflict unfolded, Cockburn was attacked by George Orwell in Homage to Catalonia (1938). Orwell accused Cockburn of being under the control of Stalin, and he was critical of the way Cockburn reported the Barcelona May Days. Cockburn was a close friend of Mikhail Koltsov, the foreign editor of Pravda and a known operative of the Kremlin.
- In the article "Art, Sex and Isherwood" for The New York Review of Books, writer Gore Vidal notes Isherwood's inordinate preoccupation with racial matters. In contrast to Isherwood, Ross was noted in her later years for her commitment to racial equality.
- In a 1954 newspaper column, journalist Claud Cockburn publicly outed Gerald Hamilton as the basis for Mr. Norris in Isherwood’s stories. Hamilton may have vindictively retaliated by identifying Ross—Cockburn's former partner and the mother of his child—as the basis for Sally Bowles. However, Ross herself believed it had been Cockburn who had initially revealed her identity to the press.
- Frost 2013.
- Brown 2016.
- Stasio 2000.
- Mosley 2003, p. 120.
- Jardine 2014.
- Williams 1996, p. 265.
- Croft 1989, p. 156.
- Firchow 2008, p. 120.
- Whaley 1969, p. 44.
- Fyrth 1999.
- Hogenkamp 1986, p. 119.
- Hutchings 2008, p. 122.
- Forbes 2011, pp. 206–19.
- Garebian 2011, pp. 6–7.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144: "Isherwood's Sally Bowles was based on Jean Ross, a spunky British woman whom he met during his Berlin days with W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender."
- Grossman 2010.
- Caudwell 1986, pp. 28–29.
- Isherwood 2012, p. 796, Glossary.
- Parker 2004.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 88–89.
- Sutherland 2005, p. 122.
- Spender 1977.
- Gilbert 2011.
- Cockburn 2001.
- Isherwood 2012, p. 386.
- Hamilton 1969, p. 44.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63: "Jean moved into a room in the Nollendorfstrasse flat after she met Christopher, early in 1931."
- Izzo 2005, p. 163.
- Lehmann 1987, p. 18.
- Moss 1979.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63: "In real life, Jean and Christopher had a relationship which was asexual but more truly intimate than the relationships between Sally and her various partners in the novel, the plays and the films."
- Spender 1966, p. 122.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144.
- Spender 1966, p. 122. In his autobiography World Within World, Stephen Spender described Ross as she appeared in 1931: "Her clothes dishevelled, her eyes large onyxes fringed by eyelashes like enamelled wire, in a face of carved ivory."
- Hamilton 1969, pp. 44–45: "I always remember my first meeting with Jean Ross [...]. When I called with my usual punctuality exactly at twelve o'clock, I was told that Miss Ross was in her bath. However a gay voice rang out down the passes — 'Is that you, Gerald? Come and talk to me, darling, while I'm having my bath.' [...] I felt rather startled at this warm invitation to sit down in the bathroom while a lady I had only met the night before was performing her ablutions. However, I went into the bathroom [...]."
- Isherwood 2012, p. 24.
- Day & Isherwood 1974.
- Doyle 2013.
- Farina 2013, p. 79.
- Lehmann 1987, p. 18: "Jean Ross, whom [Isherwood] had met in Berlin as one of his fellow-lodgers in the Nollendorfstrasse for a time, when she was earning her living as a (not very remarkable) singer in a second-rate cabaret."
- Isherwood 2012, p. 27.
- Lehmann 1987, p. 18: "Jean Ross [...]. She had not yet been immortalized as Sally Bowles [...]."
- Bell 1973.
- Vidal 1976.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144: "Isherwood himself admitted that he named the character of [Sally Bowles] for Paul Bowles, whose 'looks' he liked."
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 10–11.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63: "Jean never tried to seduce him [Isherwood]. But I remember a rainy, depressing afternoon when she remarked, 'What a pity we can't make love, there's nothing else to do,' and he agreed that it was and there wasn't."
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63: "On at least one occasion, because of some financial or housing emergency, they [Isherwood and Ross] shared a bed without the least embarrassment. Jean knew Otto and Christopher's other sex mates but showed no desire to share them, although he wouldn't have really minded."
- Izzo 2005, p. 6.
- Thomson 2005.
- Gallagher 2014.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 244–245.
- Spender 1966, p. 127.
- Lehmann 1987, pp. 28—9.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144: "The abortion is a turning point in the narrator's relationship with Sally and also in his relationship to Berlin and to his writing."
- Spender 1966, p. 129.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 95.
- New York Times 1977.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 149: "Jean was now beginning to shed her Sally Bowles persona. Her way of expressing herself already showed the influence of her new London friends—left-wingers who were humorous but dedicated, sexually permissive but politically dogmatic."
- Hamilton 1969, pp. 44–45: Gerald Hamilton claimed that Claud Cockburn often visited the flat shared by Isherwood and Ross in Berlin: "Oddly enough it was not true, as Christopher wrote in Mr Norris Changes Trains, that I ever lived in the famous pension immortalised by him. But I was a frequent visitor there. I always remember my first meeting with Jean Ross, who in Christopher's Berlin Stories, became the famous Sally Bowles. [...] I think Claud Cockburn also honoured this pension with his somewhat untidy presence."
- Isherwood 2012, p. 447: The editor notes that "Ross and Cockburn were in Berlin at the same time, but did not meet until after she moved back to London."
- Internet Movie Database.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 148–149.
- Mizejewski 1992, p. 44.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 150.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 148–149: "One morning in the middle of October, [...] Christopher got a telephone call from Jean Ross. [...] 'Chris darling, I've just met this absolutely marvelous man [Berthold Viertel]. He's simply brilliant. I adore him . . . No, you swine—we most certainly do not! He's old—at least sixty, I should think. I mean, I adore his mind . . . You see, he's an Austrian, only he's a director in Hollywood. He's come here to direct a film . . . And, darling, this is what's so marvelous—he wants you to write it!"
- Izzo 2005, p. 170: "Berthold Viertel [...] This Viennese dramatist, stage and screen director met Isherwood in 1933 through Jean Ross, who knew that Viertel needed a screenwriter for his film Little Friend."
- Isherwood 1976, p. 150: "I can't remember if Christopher kept his promise to give [Jean] her half of his first week's salary."
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 148–150.
- Fryer 1977, p. 160.
- Fryer 1977, p. 162.
- Lehmann 1987, p. 27.
- Mizejewski 1992, p. 50.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144: "Isherwood's publisher was nervous about the abortion episode and encouraged him to drop it."
- Johnstone 1975, p. 33.
- Mizejewski 1992, p. 51.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 245.
- Lehmann 1987, p. 29.
- Lehmann 1987, pp. 28–9.
- Fryer 1977, p. 164.
- Doherty 1999, pp. 48–49.
- Chisholm 1992, pp. 110–114.
- Ryan 1986, p. 325.
- Ryan 1986, p. 314.
- MacDonald 1969, pp. 192–198.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 86: "I had been with [John Cornford] when they [Ross and Cornford] first met, very soon after he’d come back from Spain."
- Cornford 1986, p. 9–10, Chronology.
- Cornford 1986, p. 11, Introduction by Galassi.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 86.
- Sommerfield 1977, pp. 86–87, 140.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 87.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 93.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 87–88.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 87: "Jean was, for all practical purposes, alone with John, talking to him in a low, amorous murmur about some new scandalous bit of Foreign Office subservience to Hitler, while, at the same time, gently stroking his thighs. When we left the restaurant she [...] linked arms with John and walked off with him."
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 86: "Most of John [Cornford]’s girls had been unsuitable; and Jean [Ross] had been extra unsuitable."
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 93: "After John had walked down Charlotte Street with Jean, he disappeared for several weeks. Then I had a letter, saying he’d moved in with Jean, and would I come round for a meal. 'She's a good cook, too,' he wrote. I liked that 'too'.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 94. Visiting them, Sommerfield wrote that he was struck by the love that Ross possessed for Cornford: "She seemed positively besotted, watching him all the time, eating him up with her eyes."
- Haycock 2013, pp. 143–4.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 94.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 95.
- Orwell 2013, p. 168.
- Preston & Mackenzie 1996, p. 267.
- Orwell 2013, pp. 168, 236–238.
- MacLean 2014, p. 178.
- Koestler 1954, pp. 210, 335–336, 368.
- National Archives 1940.
- Mora 1939, p. 306.
- Bounds 2009, p. 136.
- Orwell 2013, p. 236–238.
- McSmith 2015, p. 217.
- Moynihan 2012.
- Cowles 1941, p. 19.
- Cowles 1941, p. 30.
- Cowles 1941, Chapter 3: The Press.
- Mora 1939, pp. 294, 307: "Mowrer and I and Jean Ross, a clever and charming Englishwoman working at that time for the Government news agency in Paris and London, started off in an automobile for the southern front."
- Mora 1939, p. 307.
- Mora 1939, p. 308.
- Mora 1939, p. 310.
- Mora 1939, pp. 313–314.
- Mora 1939, pp. 314–315.
- Mora 1939, p. 315.
- Park 2004.
- "No. 34604". The London Gazette. 3 March 1939. p. 1518.
- Isherwood 2012, p. 447. Isherwood writes in his diary, "I admire the first part of Claud Cockburn's autobiography very much. But [...] I can't find the faintest allusion to Jean Ross."
- Izzo 2005, p. 97.
- Izzo 2001, p. 89.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 100–101.
- Isherwood 2012, pp. 66–67.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 124–125.
- Allen 2004.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144: "Sally's attractiveness is also diminished by two anti-Semitic remarks she makes, which are omitted in all the postwar adaptations."
- Isherwood 2012, p. 33: "This job at the Lady Windermere only lasts another week. I got it through a man I met at the Eden Bar. But he's gone off to Vienna now. I must ring up the Ufa people again, I suppose. And then there's an awful old Jew who takes me out sometimes. He's always promising to get me a contract; but he only wants to sleep with me, the old swine."
- Vidal 1974.
- Hensher 2005.
- Isherwood 2012, p. 70.
- Hamilton 1969, pp. 37, 126–127.
- Friedrich 1995, p. 307.
- Bletchly 2013, p. 26.
- Johnstone 1975, pp. 33–34.
- Wollaston 2011.
- Harvey 2011.
- Izzo 2005, p. 144: "Truman Capote's Holly Golightly [...] the latter of whom is a tribute to Isherwood and his Sally Bowles [...]."
- Norton 2010.
- Clarke 1988, Chapter 19.
- Garebian 2011, p. 4.
- Gingold 1989, p. 54.
- Maschwitz 1957, pp. 77-79.
- Bletchly, Rachel (2 April 2013). "Their True Characters". Daily Mirror. London. p. 26.
- Bounds, Philip (2009). Orwell and Marxism: The Political and Cultural Thinking of George Orwell. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-0-85773-282-8.
- Caudwell, Sarah (3 October 1986). "Reply to Berlin". New Statesman. London. pp. 28–29.
- Chisholm, Brad (July 1992). "Film and Photo League Exhibition Strategies". Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media: 110–114. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Clarke, Gerald (1988). Capote: A Biography. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-22811-0. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Cornford, John (1 January 1986) . Galassi, Jonathan (ed.). Collected Writings. New York: Carcanet Press.
- Cowles, Virginia (1941). Looking for Trouble: Memoirs of a Hearst Correspondent in Loyalist Spain. New York & London: Harper & Brothers. ISBN 978-0-571-27091-0.
- Croft, Andy (December 1989). "Forward to the 1930s: The Literary Politics of Anamnesis". In Shaw, Christopher; Chase, Malcolm (eds.). The Imagined Past: History and Nostalgia. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-7190-2875-2.
This side of Jean Ross' life is mentioned in John Sommerfield's The Imprinted (1977), where she appears as 'Jean Reynolds.' In this novel, she has been immortalised as 'Lucy Rivers' in a novel by 'L.P. Davies' called A Woman of the Thirties. 'I realized that A Woman of the Thirties had been a misfortune for her; she had been fixed by the book, turned into a fictional character whose story ended in 1939.' She has an affair in The Imprinted with 'John Rackstraw' (based on John Cornford, a young Cambridge Communist with whom Sommerfield fought in Spain).
- Doherty, Thomas (1999). Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in America Cinema 1930–1934. Columbia University Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-231-11094-5.
- Farina, William (2013). "Christopher Isherwood, Reporting from Berlin". The German Cabaret Legacy in American Popular Music. London: McFarland & Company. p. 79. ISBN 0-7864-6863-7.
- Forbes, Duncan (2011). "The Worker Photography Movement in Britain, 1934–1939". In Ribalta, Jorge (ed.). The Worker Photography Movement (1926–1939). Madrid, Spain: T.F. Editores, S.L.C. / Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. pp. 206–19. ISBN 978-84-92441-38-9.
- Firchow, Peter Edgerly (2008). Strange Meetings: Anglo-German Literary Encounters from 1910 to 1960. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. p. 120. ISBN 0-8132-1533-1.
- Friedrich, Otto (1995). "Heads Will Roll". Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s (1st ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. p. 307. ISBN 0-13-221150-5.
- Fryer, Jonathan (1977). Isherwood: A Biography. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company. ISBN 0-385-12608-5.
- Garebian, Keith (2011). The Making of Cabaret. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 4–7. ISBN 0-19-973250-7.
- Hamilton, Gerald (1969). The Way It Was With Me. London: Leslie Frewin. ISBN 978-0-09-096560-1.
- Haycock, David Boyd (2013). I Am Spain. Brecon: Old Street. ISBN 978-1-908699-10-7.
- Hogenkamp, Bert (1986). Deadly Parallels: Film and The Left in Britain, 1929–1939. Lawrence and Wishart. ISBN 978-0-85315-912-4.
- Hutchings, Stephen, ed. (2008). Russia and its Other(s) on Film: Screening Intercultural Dialogue. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 122. ISBN 1-281-97598-2.
- Isherwood, Christopher (1976). Christopher and His Kind: A Memoir, 1929–1939. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0374-53522-3.
- ———— (2012) . Goodbye to Berlin. New York: New Directions. ISBN 978-0-8112-2024-8.
- ———— (2012). Liberation: Diaries, Vol. 3: 1970–1983. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-208474-7.
- Izzo, David Garrett (2001). Christopher Isherwood: His Era, His Gang, and the Legacy of the Truly Strong Man. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-57003-403-9.
- Izzo, David Garrett (2005). Christopher Isherwood Encyclopedia. London: McFarland & Company. pp. 97, 144. ISBN 0-7864-1519-3.
- Johnstone, Iain (Autumn 1975). "The Real Sally Bowles". Folio. Washington, D.C.: American University. pp. 33–34.
- Koestler, Arthur (1954). The Invisible Writing: Being the Second Volume of Arrow in the Blue. New York: Macmillan Company. pp. 210, 335–336, 368. ISBN 0-8128-6218-X.
- Lehmann, John (1987). Christopher Isherwood: A Personal Memoir. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-1029-7.
- MacDonald, Dwight (1969). "Soviet Cinema, 1930–1940, A History". On Movies (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. 192–198. ISBN 0-13-221150-5.
- MacLean, Rory (2014). Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-250-05240-7.
- McSmith, Andy (2015). Fear and the Muse Kept Watch: The Russian Masters—from Akhmatova and Pasternak to Shostakovich and Eisenstein—Under Stalin. London: The New Press. ISBN 978-1-59558-056-6.
- Mizejewski, Linda (1992). Divine Decadence: Fascism, Female Spectacle, and the Makings of Sally Bowles. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07896-3.
- Mora, Constancia de la (1939). In Place of Splendor: The Autobiography of a Spanish Woman. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. pp. 294, 306–315.
- Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. 1. Wilmington, Delaware: Genealogical Books. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-9711966-2-9.
- Orwell, George (2013) . Homage to Catalonia. Penguin Books. pp. 168, 236–250. ISBN 978-0-141-39302-5.
- Preston, Paul; Mackenzie, Ann (1996). The Republic Besieged: Civil War in Spain 1936–1939. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-0861-4.
- Sommerfield, John (1977). The Imprinted: Recollections of Then, Now, and Later On. London: London Magazine Editions. ISBN 978-0-904388-26-8. Although a semi-autobiographical work disguised as a novel, John Sommerfield's The Imprinted draws upon factual relationships and events that occurred among British socialist enclaves in the 1930s. As such, Sommerfield's friendship with Ross and Cornford is likely factual, although any relationship between Ross and Cornford is unconfirmed.
- Spender, Stephen (September 1974). "On Being a Ghost in Isherwood's Berlin". Mademoiselle (79). pp. 138–139.
- ——— (1966) . World Within World: The Autobiography of Stephen Spender. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-679-64045-5.
- Sutherland, John (2005). Stephen Spender: A Literary Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0-19-517816-5.
- Williams, Keith (1996). British Writers and the Media, 1930–45. London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd. p. 265. ISBN 0-333-63896-4.
- Allen, Brooke (19 December 2004). "Isherwood: The Uses of Narcissism". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
The real Isherwood, though not without many sympathetic qualities, was petty, selfish and supremely egotistical. The least political of the so-called Auden group, Isherwood was always guided by his personal motivations rather than by abstract ideas.
- Bell, Arthur (25 March 1973). "Christopher Isherwood: No Parades". The New York Times. p. 412. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- "Book Ends". The New York Times. 6 March 1977. p. 309. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
[Christopher Isherwood] found no irony in the post‐Berlin life of Jean Ross, the woman who was the model for the hedonistic Sally Bowles: 'A beautiful woman. She left Berlin to go to Spain during the Civil War. She died recently still a Communist.'
- Brown, Helen (18 February 2016). "Muse, The Witham, Barnard Castle". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Cockburn, Alexander (22 February 2001). "Alexander Cockburn Reminisces About His Father's Second Wife Jean Ross". CounterPunch: America's Best Newsletter. Archived from the original on 3 March 2001. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Day, James; Isherwood, Christopher (25 April 1974). "Christopher Isherwood on Day at Night, with James Day". Day at Night. Season 2. Episode 32. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). CUNY TV. Episode Information. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Doyle, Rachel (12 April 2013). "Looking for Christopher Isherwood's Berlin". The New York Times. p. TR10. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Frost, Peter (31 December 2013). "Jean Ross: The Real Sally Bowles". Morning Star. Retrieved 18 June 2018. Frost's article is more or less a summary of the Oxford National Biography article by Peter Parker.
- Fyrth, Jim (25 May 1999). "Obituary: Bill Carritt". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Gallagher, Paul (3 April 2014). "Life is a Cabaret: Christopher Isherwood on the real Sally Bowles, Berlin, writing and W. H. Auden". Dangerous Minds. Presented by Richard Metzger. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
- Gilbert, Gerard (8 March 2011). "Christopher Isherwood: A Singular Talent Laid Bare". The Independent. London. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Grossman, Lev (6 January 2010). "All-Time 100 Novels: The Berlin Stories". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
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- Jardine, Jon (24 April 2014). "Cabaret Berlin: Jean Ross". Cabaret Berlin: Exploring the Entertainment of the Weimar Era. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
Isherwood returned to the United States and three years later, on April 27th 1973, Jean died of cervical cancer at her home in Barnes, south-west London. She was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium on May 4th 1973.
- Moynihan, Colin (22 July 2012). "Alexander Cockburn, Acerbic Writer and Critic, Dies at 71". The New York Times. p. B8. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Moss, Howard (3 June 1979). "Christopher Isherwood: Man and Work". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- "National Archives: Francis Claud Cockburn – Security File". The National Archives. 1 January 1940. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
Francis Claud Cockburn, alias Frank Pitcairn: British. In 1933 Cockburn a former Times journalist, started his own political publication The Week which gained a reputation for having inside sources of information. In 1936, under the name Frank Pitcairn, he reported on the Spanish Civil War for the Daily Worker, later becoming its Foreign Editor. In 1939 he was a leading British Communist Party member and was said to be a leader of the Comintern in Western Europe. Throughout the Second World War he remained an active Communist.
- Norton, Ingrid (1 July 2010). "Year with Short Novels: Breakfast at Sally Bowles". Open Letters Monthly. Archived from the original on 7 April 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
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- "Rumba (1935)". Internet Movie Database. As Ross purportedly never traveled to the United States during her lifetime, it is possible that Ross was erroneously credited as having a small role in this film.
- Ryan, Trevor (March 1986). "Labour and Media in Britain 1929–1939: A Study of the Attitudes of the Labour Movement Towards the New Media, Film and Radio, and Of Its Attempts to Use them For Political Purposes" (PDF). School of History. University of Leeds. 2: 314, 325.
- Spender, Stephen (30 October 1977). "Life Wasn't a Cabaret". The New York Times. p. 198. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Stasio, Marilyn (6 February 2000). "Sarah Caudwell, 60, Lawyer and Author of Mystery Novels". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
Sarah Caudwell was born May 27, 1939.
- Thomson, David (21 March 2005). "The Observer as Hero". The New Republic. New York City. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
- Vidal, Gore (9 December 1976). "Art, Sex and Isherwood". The New York Review of Books. New York. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Whaley, Barton (September 1969). Guerrillas in the Spanish Civil War (PDF). Center for International Studies (Report). Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. p. 44. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Wollaston, Sam (20 March 2011). "Review: Christopher and His Kind | Civilization: Is the West History?". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Jean Ross on IMDb
- Jean Ross – CounterPunch Profile counterpunch.org; accessed 8 July 2014.
- Jean Ross – Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Profile, oxforddnb.com; accessed 8 July 2014.