“I GREATLY HOPE I COME OUT OF THIS ALIVE IF ONLY TO WRITE A BOOK”: BEAUTIFUL FIRST EDITION OF GEORGE ORWELL’S HOMAGE TO CATALONIA
ORWELL, George. Homage to Catalonia. London: Secker and Warburg, 1938. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of Orwell’s powerful work on the Spanish Civil War—“a milestone in the violent education of modern man”—an exceptional copy, scarce in original dust jacket.
George Orwell was “one of the best men in times he considered the worst” (New York Times). After enlisting in late 1936, Orwell found himself fighting on the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. In May 1937 he wrote Victor Gollancz, his initial publisher for Homage to Catalonia, stating “he had not forgotten about the book, even though he was at the front: ‘I greatly hope I come out of this alive if only to write a book about it” (Fenwick, 63). That same month Orwell “was wounded in the throat by a fascist sniper” and, not long after his release from the hospital, was forced to flee Spain. Homage To Catalonia, issued in April 1938 by Secker & Warburg after Orwell’s conflict with Gollancz, won high critical praise as “a milestone in the violent education of modern man… That he could have written so objective a book so soon after his almost fatal involvement in the war itself and in the partisan conflict seems miraculous” (New York Times). Despite a modest print run of 1500 copies, “Homage to Catalonia ran so counter to prevailing opinion that in its first 12 years it sold only 600 copies; yet it was perhaps the most rigorously clear view of the Spanish reality in the English language” (New York Times). Small inkstamp below title page imprint: “Printed in Great Britain.” Fenwick A.6.
Book fine; lightest edge-wear, faint spine toning, very small bit of soiling to rear panel of exceptionally bright near-fine price-clipped dust jacket.