"Hard as the metal of my gun" : John Cornford's Spain


  • Stan Smith Nottingham Trent University




John Cornford, who died on the Cordoba front in December 1936, is most frequently seen, by both enthusiasts and detractors, as a loyal Communist cadre, subscribing unequivocally to the Party line on the situation in Spain. Yet in his most powerful poem, “Full Moon at Tierz: Before the Storming of Huesca”, there is a significant hesitation, focused by a reference to the Seventh Congress of the Comintern. A close scrutiny of this poem, of letters and a “Political Report” he wrote from Spain, and an examination of some of his pre-Spain political writings, indicate a more complex picture, and suggest that he had considerable reservations about Party policy, particularly in relation to the “Popular Front” strategy, and to Communist dealings with other movements in the Republican camp.


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How to Cite

Smith, S. (2008). "Hard as the metal of my gun" : John Cornford’s Spain. Journal of English Studies, 5, 357–373. https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.137