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Shvoong Home>Books>Poetry>Abstract on “Spain-1937” by w.h.auden Review

Abstract on “Spain-1937” by w.h.auden

Book Review   by:akso6o175     Original Author: Andy Kester Sawian
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The Spanish Civil War began with the military uprising of July 17-18, 1936 and ended with the defeat of the Spanish Republic on March 28, 1939. Besides the military, the nationalist side included conservatives from many parties and extreme rightist. On the Republican or Loyalist side were Republicans, Socialist, Communists and dissident Marxist. The war began with a military uprising in Spanish Morocco, led by General Francisco Franco. ‘Spreading to China along the trade-routes’ refers to the Spanish territory while the ‘cromlech’ is an ancient monument of standing stones arranged in a circle’. The ‘navigators’ refers to the crew of the Spanish Armada and the ‘gargoyles’ are the grotesque carvings of water spouts.
In January-March 1937, Auden paid a visit to Spain and worked on the side of the ‘Republicans’ as a stretcher –bearer and sanitary worker. The poem ‘Spain-1937’, composed during this time, is considered to be one of the best poems on the subject. Many critics are of the view that it is in ‘Spain’ that the liberal humanist in Auden finds his best expression. ‘The trail of heretics amoung the columns of stone’ refer to the Spanish Inquisition since 1480 while ‘The fall of the curtain’ refer to the Greek tragedies. An ‘investigator’ is another name for a scientist while ‘At the inhuman provinces, the virile bacillus Or enormous Jupiter finished’ refers to all branches of science.
The poem is Auden’s emotional response to the Spanish Civil War and presents a vision and a wider perspective of mankind across history. The poem is also a symbol of the war within each individual. Auden uses a kind of symbolism, where objects are seen as corresponding to human attitude and emotions. ‘The nations combine each cry’ reveals the cry for providential interventions. ‘Just City’ refers to the victory of the Republicans while the ‘romantic death’ refers to the defeat of the nationalist. ‘The tableland scored by rivers’ refers to Spain and ‘The stars are dead; the animals will not look’ whereby nature cannot help mankind.

Published: November 05, 2010   
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