Jean Iris Ross
7 May 1911
|Died||27 April 1973 (aged 61)|
|Occupation||Film critic, writer, singer|
|Employer||Daily Worker (film critic)|
Daily Express (war correspondent)
|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. 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 works of "dialectical sophistry". Throughout her life she wrote political criticism and anti-fascist polemics, as well as manifestos for a number of disparate organisations such as the British Workers' Film and Photo League. She was a lifelong member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
During her itinerant youth in the Weimar Republic, Ross was a cabaret singer and fashion model in Berlin. Her Berlin escapades served as the basis for the fictional character Sally Bowles in Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories, a work cited by literary critics as deftly capturing the hedonistic nihilism of the Weimar era. The work was later adapted into the stage musical Cabaret. 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 characterisation of Sally has become progressively cruder and less subtle and the stories about 'the original' correspondingly more high-coloured."
In addition to inspiring the character of Sally Bowles, Ross is credited by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and other sources as the muse for lyricist Eric Maschwitz's jazz standard "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)", one of the 20th century's more enduring love songs. Although Maschwitz's estranged wife Hermione Gingold later claimed the popular song was written for herself or actress Anna May Wong, Maschwitz himself contradicted these claims. Instead, Maschwitz cited memories of a "young love", and most scholars posit Maschwitz's youthful affair with Ross as inspiring the song.
Early life and education
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 classifier 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 16, she was profoundly bored and loathed school. She became openly rebellious when informed that she must remain at school for another year and repeat her already completed coursework. To gain her freedom, she feigned a teenage pregnancy and was summoned before the school's stern headmistress:
"Jean remembered standing by the fireplace, feeling the cold marble under her hand while she debated 'for the longest thirty seconds of my life' whether to tell the truth, which would have condemned her to remaining at the school, or lie and suffer the consequences."
Ross falsely insisted to the headmistress that she was pregnant, and the Leatherhead Court schoolmasters sequestered the teenage Ross in a nearby sanatorium until a family relative arrived and retrieved her. When they discovered the pregnancy was feigned, Ross was formally expelled. Exasperated by her defiant behaviour, her parents sent her abroad to Pensionnat Mistral, an elite Swiss finishing school in Neuchâtel; however, Ross either was expelled or fled the school.
Using a trust stipend provided by her grandfather Charles Caudwell, who was an affluent industrialist and landowner, the teenage Ross returned to England and 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 gave her the opportunity to play the lead role in any production of her choice. When Ross selected the difficult role of Phaedra, 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 rumours that there were ample job opportunities for aspiring actors in the Weimar Republic of Germany, and the adventurous duo set-off with great expectations for Central Europe.
Ross's excursion to Central Europe proved less successful than she had hoped. She was unable to find acting opportunities and, by early 1931, she instead worked as a nightclub singer in Weimar Germany, presumably in lesbian bars. When not singing or modelling, she 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 Tales of Hoffmann, the latter Offenbach's opéra fantastique, and she performed in Reinhardt's production of Peer Gynt as Anitra.
Reinhardt's much-anticipated production of Tales of Hoffmann premiered on 28 November 1931. In the production, reputedly one of the last great triumphs of the Berlin theatre 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 boasted[c] that she and the male performer had capitalised on this opportunity for sexual intimacy in full view of the unsuspecting audience.
By winter 1931, Ross had moved to Schöneberg, Berlin, where she shared modest lodgings in Fräulein Meta Thurau's flat[d] at Nollendorfstraße 17 with English writer 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 specifically moved to Berlin for the gay nightlife. At their first meeting, Ross monopolised the conversation and recounted her latest sexual conquests. At one point, she reached into her handbag and produced a diaphragm which she waved in the face of a startled Isherwood. The two soon 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 only woman in this circle of gay male writers, Ross was mythologised by them in their respective 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 nude, or about discussing her sexual relations. A contemporary portrait of a 19-year-old Ross 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 humour akin to comédienne Beatrice Lillie. Their ramshackle flat at Nollendorfstraße 17 was in a working-class district near the epicentre 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 effective:
Due to her acquaintanceship with Isherwood, Ross would later become immortalised 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 visited Berlin. Bowles was a gay American writer who would later garner acclaim for his post-colonial novel The Sheltering Sky. This meeting between Ross and Paul Bowles 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 claimed that Ross was "more essentially British than Sally; 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 whenever 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 musician Götz von Eick, later known as actor Peter van Eyck and future star of Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear. Although identified[g] by some biographers as Jewish, other biographers posit that van Eyck was the wealthy scion of Prussian landowners in Pomerania. As a Pomeranian aristocrat, he was expected by his family to embark upon a military career, but he became interested in jazz as a young man and pursued musical studies in Berlin.
When the 19-year-old van Eyck met Ross, he often moonlighted as a jazz pianist in Berlin cabarets. Either during their brief relationship or soon after their separation, Ross realized she was pregnant. As a personal favour to Ross, Isherwood pretended to be her heterosexual impregnator in order for Ross to obtain an abortion procedure. Ross nearly died as a result of the abortion procedure after the doctor forgot a swab inside her. These events inspired Isherwood to write his story "Sally Bowles" and serves as its narrative climax.
Departure from Germany
By 1932, the Weimar Berlin that Ross, Isherwood, and other British expatriates witnessed was in the trough of an economic depression, with millions of persons unemployed. 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 realised 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[h] to southern England. Within a year, Adolf Hitler's ascent to the position of German Chancellor and the increasing prevalence of xenophobic Nazism in the country would preclude both Ross and Isherwood from returning to their beloved Berlin. Many of the Berlin cabaret denizens befriended by Ross and Isherwood would later flee abroad or die in labour camps.
Activities in London
Joining the Communist Party
Now in southern England, Ross resided at Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London, and continued to fraternise with Isherwood and his circle of artistic friends. She increasingly began to 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[i] 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. Despite this "portent of unreliability" and "the fact that Cockburn had already been married to an American woman whom he left when she became pregnant", Ross began an affair with Cockburn. On a subsequent evening, Cockburn expounded upon 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. It is possible, although unlikely,[j] that she obtained a bit role as a chorus girl in Paramount Studios' musical drama film Rumba.
Isherwood and Viertel
While in England, Ross's 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 poverty at the time, Ross induced her friend Viertel to hire Isherwood as a translator. As repayment for this favour, Ross asked Isherwood to promise to give half of his first week's salary from the job to her. After obtaining the job, Isherwood either reneged upon or forgot this agreement with Ross, and this incident may have contributed to the 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 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. 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 feared that Ross would file a libel suit against 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 sympathised with any friend in similar impecunious straits. Accordingly, as a personal favour 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 novella "Sally Bowles", Ross regretted this decision and believed it permanently harmed her reputation. Now deeply committed to the socialist cause, Ross noticed that Isherwood's story undermined her standing "among those comrades who realised she was the model for Sally Bowles."
Workers' League, and embezzlement
Circa 1934–1935, while in England, Ross wrote the fiery manifesto for the short-lived British Workers' Film and Photo League and 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 organisation sought to bring anti-capitalist "revolutionary films to workers organisations throughout the country." Despite its limited personnel and modest funds, the League produced newsreels, taught seminars on working-class film criticism, organised 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 personally donated a considerable sum to the fledgling organisation in February 1936. However, another League member named Ivan Seruya embezzled the majority of Ross' donation in order to finance his own private venture International Sound Films. This incident and the subsequent dearth of organisational 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 1935–36, Ross was the film critic for the Daily Worker. She wrote her reviews using the alias Peter Porcupine, which she presumably adopted as a homage to radical English pamphleteer William Cobbett who had used the same pseudonym. Ross interest in film criticism purportedly began earlier in Berlin when she often attended the cinema together with Isherwood, Auden, and Spender. According to Spender, their quartet of friends collectively viewed such 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 labour 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[k] 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 purportedly[l] 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 English volunteer to enlist against Francisco Franco's forces, 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[m] 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 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. If such a relationship occurred,[l] 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 travelled to war-torn Spain either in the company of Claud Cockburn or separately.[n] At this point, Cornford had returned to Spain with 21 British volunteers to fight the fascists and had become the defacto representative of 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 of Madrid, 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, Spain on 27 or 28 December.
Upon hearing of Cornford's death, Ross was purportedly 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 I ever loved." The death of Cornford and other friends in the service of the doomed Republican cause likely solidified[o] 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, known as the Spanish News Agency. During Ross' tenure in the organisation, the Espagne News-Agency was accused by journalist George Orwell of being a Stalinist apparatus which disseminated false propaganda[p] 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 loyal operatives of the Comintern apparatus, the international Communist organization determined to create a worldwide Soviet republic. Ross' fellow Comintern propagandists included Hungarian journalist Arthur Koestler, Willy Forrest, Mildred Bennett of the Moscow Daily News, and Claud Cockburn.[q]
Ross and Cockburn became closer[n] as the civil war progressed in Spain. By this time, Cockburn was a prominent member of the British Communist Party. 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[r] coverage to the 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 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, 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 sole restaurant open in beseiged Madrid during its 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—the step-son[s] of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley Richardson—and their guide Constancia de la Mora travelled to Andalusia to report on the southern front. Ross and Mowrer 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 travelling faced recurrent enemy fire and later, during the evening outside a monastery, was bombed by a fascist air patrol. De la Mora 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. Her friends noted that "she had a comforting air of calmness about her." 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, for 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 escaped to England. Her wartime experiences—especially the atrocities she witnessed and the friends she lost in combat—solidified her lifelong commitment[o] 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 still was married under British law to his first wife Hope Hale Davis and 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. Several months before her daughter's birth, Ross 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. Following her abandonment by Cockburn, Ross did not have another recorded partner. She later opined to an acquaintance that "having a man around was like having a crocodile in the bath."
Later life and death
Second World War, and post-war years
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, 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 who 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.
For the remainder of her adult life, Ross devoted herself to two causes: advancing the ideology of socialism, and raising her daughter Sarah. In order to obtain the most advantageous education available for Sarah, Ross relocated with her child to Scotland. In 1960, they moved to Barnes, near London, for Sarah to attend Oxford University. They lived with Jean's invalid 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 Peggy, who had severe arthritis affecting her mobility, and her ailing mother Clara who had suffered a debilitating stroke. Under Ross's 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 went on to teach 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 boycotting apartheid South Africa to opposing the Vietnam War. Even in old age, she continued to make daily rounds to neighbouring houses to sell copies of the Daily Worker and to raise 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 burned 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 their final reunion in London in a diary entry:
"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 or his hedonistic friends, many of whom "fluttered around town exclaiming how sexy the storm troopers 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 fictionalised 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, 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 "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 a reflection of Isherwood's own much-documented[t] 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. 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[u] with 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 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 "wanted to talk about politics." Ross bitterly noted that reporters often 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 ascribed 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 glamourised and distorted the harsh realities of 1930s Berlin. In Ross's own words, Isherwood's "story was quite, quite different from what really happened." She nonetheless conceded 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
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 noted the peculiar resiliency of the Sally Bowles 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 permutations lives on "from story to play to movie to musical to movie-musical." Moss ascribed the character's continuing appeal to the aura of sophisticated innocence which pervades Isherwood's depiction of both the character and Weimar Berlin in which "the unseemly and the ugly" are either deemphasized or made to appear genial to the spectator.
According to critic Ingrid Norton, the character of Sally Bowles later inspired Truman Capote's Holly Golightly in his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's. 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.
Christopher and His Kind (2011)
In 2011, British actress Imogen Poots portrayed Jean Ross in 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."
These Foolish Things
As well as inspiring the character of Sally Bowles, Ross has been credited as the inspiration for one of the 20th century's more enduring popular songs: "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)". Although composer Eric 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, and 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 married as Cockburn was uncertain whether his divorce from his American first wife Hope Hale Davis was valid in England. Whether Ross knew that Cockburn was still legally married to Davis is unknown. Several months before her daughter's birth, 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, years after Ross' death, her daughter Sarah Caudwell disputed Isherwood's claims of Ross' sexual exhibitionism in Reinhardt's Tales of Hoffmann. However, acquaintance Gerald Hamilton claimed 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 sometimes would order people around in an imperious tone, with her English upper-class rudeness."
- Isherwood relates in his 1976 memoir that "both of them [Isherwood and Ross] were selfish and they often quarrelled." In his autobiography World Within World, Stephen Spender implies relations between Isherwood and Ross were often acrimonious, and Isherwood once referred to Ross as "a bitch" for snidely claiming that he might one day "write something really great, like Noël Coward."
- Peter Parker notes that Ross "claimed that Isherwood 'grossly underrated' her singing abilities, but her family agreed that this was one aspect of Sally Bowles that Isherwood got absolutely right."
- Critic David Thomson and writer Peter Parker assert that Peter van Eyck was Jewish. Others contend van Eyck was a Pomeranian aristocrat. The character of Klaus Linke in Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin is based upon van Eyck.
- Isherwood inaccurately claimed in a 1977 interview that Ross went immediately from Germany to Spain to join the Spanish Civil War. This was incorrect. In Christopher and His Kind (1976), Isherwood states Ross returned to England and then went to Spain.
- Gerald Hamilton hypothesized that Ross and Cockburn were acquaintances as far back as Berlin in 1930. Other sources contradict this statement and assert that Ross and Cockburn did not meet until after Ross moved back to London.
- Isherwood asserts in his memoir Christopher and His Kind that Ross never travelled to the United States during her lifetime. As such, she could not have filmed Rumba (1935) in Hollywood. She is perhaps wrongly credited 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 relations between Ross and John Cornford appear in John Sommerfield's semi-autobiographical 1977 work The Imprinted. This work is a memoir with facts and fiction interwoven. Sommerfield was an intimate friend of Cornford and fought in the Spanish Civil War alongside him.
- John Sommerfield recalled Ross meeting Cornford in his semi-autobiographical memoir The Imprinted based 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 they "stayed there as reporters."
- In a 1974 interview with James Day, Isherwood asserted that Ross' commitment to Marxism occurred after her sojourn in Berlin and was "the one subject on which she was a bit boring because she echoed the [Stalinist] party line."
- According to George Orwell, the Espagne News-Agency published false stories about anti-Stalinist anarchists who had been secretly executed by the NKVD in Spain. For example, the agency falsely reported that Andrés Nin—who had been tortured and executed by the NKVD—had escaped to a fascist sanctuary.
- Claud Cockburn, using the alias "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.
- Richard Mowrer was the son of Paul Mowrer, the first journalist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence in 1929. After her divorce from Ernest Hemingway, Hadley Richardson married Paul Mowrer and became the step-mother to his son Richard. Jack Hemingway, the son of Ernest and Hadley, was Richard's step-brother.
- 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 retaliated by identifying Ross—Cockburn's former partner and the mother of his child—as the basis for Sally Bowles. Ross herself believed it had been Cockburn who had initially revealed her identity to the press.
- Parker 2005, p. 206.
- Brown 2016.
- Parker 2005, p. 220.
- Stasio 2000.
- Mosley 2003, p. 120.
- Jardine 2014.
- Williams 1996, p. 265.
- Whaley 1969, p. 44.
- Fyrth 1999.
- Hogenkamp 1986, p. 119.
- Hutchings 2008, p. 122.
- Forbes 2011, pp. 206–19.
- Croft 1989, p. 156.
- Firchow 2008, p. 120.
- 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: The Berlin Stories "form one coherent snapshot of a lost world, the antic, cosmopolitan Berlin of the 1930s, where jolly expatriates dance faster and faster, as if that would save them from the creeping rise of Nazism."
- Caudwell 1986, pp. 28–29.
- Garebian 2011, p. 4.
- Parker 2004.
- Gingold 1989, p. 54.
- Maschwitz 1957, pp. 77–79.
- Isherwood 2012b, p. 796, Glossary.
- Frost 2013.
- Parker 2005, p. 207.
- Parker 2005, pp. 205, 207.
- Parker 2005, p. 205.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 88–89.
- Sutherland 2005, p. 122.
- Spender 1977.
- Gilbert 2011.
- Cockburn 2001.
- Isherwood 2012b, p. 386.
- Hamilton 1969, p. 44.
- Isherwood 2012b, p. 386: Ross "claimed that she and her fellow extra used to fuck [sic] every single night on stage during the party at Giulietta's Venetian palace in the second act of Hoffmans Erzählungen."
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 63: "Jean moved into a room in the Nollendorfstrasse flat after she met Christopher, early in 1931."
- Isherwood 2012b, p. 796, Glossary; Hamilton 1969, p. 44; 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 2012a, 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."
- Lehmann 1987, p. 18.
- Isherwood 2012a, p. 27.
- Lehmann 1987, p. 18: "Jean Ross...She had not yet been immortalized as Sally Bowles..."
- Garebian 2011, pp. 6–7; 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.
- Frost 2013; Gallagher 2014; Thomson 2005
- Bergfelder 2007, p. 47.
- Bock & Bergfelder 2009, pp. 495–496.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 244–245.
- Gallagher 2014.
- Spender 1966, p. 127.
- Spender 1974, pp. 138–139.
- 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."
- Parker 2005, p. 254.
- Spender 1966, p. 129.
- Isherwood 1976, p. 95.
- The New York Times 1977.
- Isherwood 1976, pp. 164–166; Farina 2013, p. 74–81
- Isherwood 1976, p. 150: "Erwin [Hansen] returned to Germany several years later. Someone told me that he was arrested by the Nazis and died in a concentration camp."
- Parker 2005, p. 614: "It was probably during the Berlin trip that Isherwood learned that the Nazis eventually caught up with his other companion on his 1933 journey to Greece, Erwin Hansen, who had died in a concentration camp."
- Isherwood 1976, p. 297: "Heinz [Neddermeyer] might easily have been sentenced to an indefinite term in a concentration camp, as many homosexuals were...Like the Jews, homosexuals were often put into 'liquidation' units, in which they were given less food and more work than other prisoners. Thus, thousands of them died."
- Isherwood 1962, p. 61: There were "people in danger of their lives, travelling with false papers and in fear of being caught and sent to a concentration camp or simply killed outright. It is only in the past few weeks that I have fully grasped the fact that such a situation really exists—not in a newspaper or a novel—but here where I have been living."
- 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 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."
- Parker 2005, pp. 270–271.
- Isherwood 2012b, 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."
- Parker 2005, p. 270.
- Parker 2005, p. 271.
- 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.
- Fryer 1977, p. 164.
- Doherty 1999, pp. 48–49.
- Chisholm 1992, pp. 110–114.
- Ryan 1986, p. 325.
- Ryan 1986, p. 314.
- Williams 1996, p. 265; Gilbert 2011; Fyrth 1999
- MacDonald 1969, pp. 192–198.
- Sommerfield 2015: "[Sommerfield] went off to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, serving in a machine-gun unit and losing his friend and fellow writer John Cornford to the conflict. On his return to England, Sommerfield found that he had been reported dead, his obituary appearing in two newspapers. Volunteer In Spain appeared in 1937 and was dedicated to Cornford."
- 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."
- Whitehead 2013.
- Sommerfield 2015.
- Baxell 2001, p. 126.
- Haycock 2013, pp. 143–4.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 94.
- Sommerfield 1977, p. 95.
- Mora 1939, pp. 294, 307.
- The New York Times 1971.
- 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.
- Henderson 2018, Chapter: Jean.
- "No. 34604". The London Gazette. 3 March 1939. p. 1518.
- Isherwood 2012b, 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 2012b, pp. 66–67.
- Cockburn 2001: "Jean Ross was a gentle, cultivated and very beautiful woman, not a bit like the vulgar vamp displayed by Lisa Minelli."
- 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 2012a, 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."
- Hensher 2005.
- Isherwood 2012b, p. 70.
- Hamilton 1969, pp. 37, 126–127.
- Friedrich 1995, p. 307.
- Bletchly 2013, p. 26.
- Johnstone 1975, pp. 33–34.
- 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.
- Wollaston 2011.
- Harvey 2011.
- Baxell, Richard (21 December 2001). The British Battalion of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (PDF) (PhD). London School of Economics and Political Science. p. 126. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
- Bergfelder, Tim (2007). "The Passenger: Ambivalences of National Identity and Masculinity in the Star Persona of Peter van Eyck". In Davidson, John E.; Hake, Sabine (eds.). Framing the Fifties: Cinema in a Divided Germany. New York City: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-84545-204-9.
- Bletchly, Rachael (2 April 2013). "Their True Characters: Real people who inspired fictional, TV and film heroes and heroines". Daily Mirror. London. p. 26. Archived from the original on 5 April 2013.
She's been played by big names such as Judi Dench, Julie Harris, Teri Hatcher and Brooke Shields. But Liza Minnelli's Oscar-winning performance as the underground club singer is seen by Cabaret fans as the definitive Sally Bowles. In fact author Christopher Isherwood based his character on Jean Ross, an English woman he met while living in decadent Berlin in the early 1930s. Jean generously allowed him to publish the book in 1937 – despite it featuring the then-scandalous fact she'd had an abortion. Isherwood never confirmed she had inspired Sally until after her death in 1973, while Jean, a political radical, never wanted publicity. She was traced by reporters when [I Am a Camera] was first staged in , but declined all invitations to see the show. A family friend said: 'Jean was a wonderful woman, warm and gentle in demeanour. She couldn't have been more unlike the rather tinny character portrayed in Sally Bowles. She was extremely intelligent, politically alert and vital. She probably found the portrait painted by Christopher Isherwood rather irritating.'
- Bock, Hans-Michael; Bergfelder, Tim, eds. (1 September 2009). The Concise Cinegraph: Encyclopaedia of German Cinema. New York City: Berghahn Books. pp. 495–496. ISBN 978-1-57181-655-9.
- 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 City: Carcanet Press. ISBN 9780856356520.
- Cowles, Virginia (1941). Looking for Trouble: Memoirs of a Hearst Correspondent in Loyalist Spain. New York City & 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 titled 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 978-0-7864-6863-8.
- 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 978-0-8132-1533-4.
- Friedrich, Otto (1995). "Heads Will Roll". Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s (1st ed.). New York City: 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 978-0-19-973250-0.
- Gingold, Hermione (1989). How to Grow Old Disgracefully. New York City: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-575-04477-7.
- 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.
- Henderson, Maragret (2018). "Jean". Granny's Stories. Ishpeming, Michigan: BookVenture Publishing. ISBN 978-1-5245-9356-8.
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stephen spender worthing.
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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.
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- "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.'
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- 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.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
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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.
- "John Sommerfield". London Books. June 2015. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
[John Sommerfield] went off to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, serving in a machine-gun unit and losing his friend and fellow writer John Cornford to the conflict. On his return to England, Sommerfield found that he had been reported dead, his obituary appearing in two newspapers. Volunteer In Spain appeared in 1937 and was dedicated to Cornford, but he felt that he had been rushed in writing it, despite mainly positive coverage.
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- "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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- Parker, Peter (September 2004). "Ross, Jean Iris (1911–1973)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/74425. Retrieved 18 June 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Rumba (1935)". Internet Movie Database. As Ross purportedly never travelled to the United States during her lifetime, it is possible that Ross was erroneously credited as having a small role in this film.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
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Sarah Caudwell was born May 27, 1939.
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- Whitehead, Andrew (August 2013). "John Sommerfield". AndrewWhitehead.Net. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
John Sommerfield described The Imprinted as semi-fictional memoirs. It draws loosely on his own life—the dissolute, disputatious political and literary circles in which he mixed; political activism in London; fighting in Spain...Much of the action concerns a commission to make a radio documentary about...John Cornford, then being pressured to amend the script and take out some of the politics, and battling against these injunctions.
- Wollaston, Sam (20 March 2011). "Review: Christopher and His Kind | Civilization: Is the West History?". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Jean Ross at 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.