Revisiting Spanish Memory: George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia

By Dolores Martín Moruno

This article explores the way in which the Spanish Civil War has been traditionally shaped in the collective memory as a Manicheanconflict fought between two well-defined sides, the Republicans and the Nationalists, in order to demythologize this common representation in contemporary Spanish society. According to the recent interest shown by Spanish population for recovering its national past, I consider the civil war as a “site of memory” that needs to be periodically relived in order to satisfy the changing needs of each generation. Therefore, this article aims at reviewing the legacy of the civil war from an unusual approach, a literary contribution can provide an alternative perception of this struggle: George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia (1938). In this way, Orwell’s memories are analyzed in order to understand the civil war as the beginning of a social revolution, which was crushed not only by fascist forces but also by the policy exerted by the Soviet Union in Spain by means of the communist party. In conclusion, Orwell’s contribution is not only interpreted as an homage to the ordinary people who fought in order to create a new social order, but also to Georges Orwell, who led to posterity one of the most moving testimonies of the Spanish Social Revolution, an episode completely removed from Spanish memory.

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