Soldier of Franco, Soldier of Christ: Roy Campbell and Spain in the 1930s

  • M Gómez


After Roy Campbell's death in Portugal in 1956, Alan Paton gave future students of the poet very sound advice: he warned us not to try to understand the man, not to look for consistency in his political statements or even in his outlook on life, for “[t]here was only one base to Campbell's philosophy and that was Campbell himself” (1984, 85). Campbell's work, life and politics are often so difficult to decipher in relation to one another that to follow Paton's advice seems to be the only sensible choice. For how can we possibly reconcile Campbell's liberal and anti-establishment views during the Voorslag years in South Africa with his political allegiances in Spain during the Civil War and into the 1940s and 1950s; his contempt for English society with his quasi-patriotic stand alongside Britain during World War II; his admiration for Franco and the Spanish National Movement with his active participation in the war against Hitler; or the latter with his defence of fascism as the most efficient of revolutions?

English in Africa Vol. 34 (1) 2007: pp. 21-41

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eISSN: 0376-8902