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Horizon, September 1941 Issue PDF - Previous Issue / Next Issue
8 Articles, 80pp

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the chic, subtle and romantic aspects of contemporary, fashion-
able life arouses the hope that one day he may make a book about
Paris-the Siren City at all seasons-particularly perhaps in her
midsummer zenith of season. That this tentative suggestion may
smack of ingratitude to the present volume is the last wish of the
reviewer. Here is a delightful divertissement, charmingly produced
-a bombe en surprise. In Cecil Beaton's art it is always the birth-
day morning-the eve of the Ball, the rise of the curtain.
The Forge. By Arturo Barea. Translated from the Spanish, with an
introduction by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell. Faber & Faber.
10s. 6d.
IF some Russian writer were at this moment to produce a book
of reminiscences of his childhood in 1900, it would be difficult to
review it without mentioning the fact that Soviet Russia is now
our ally against Germany, and in the same way it is impossible to
read The Forge without thinking at almost every page of the
Spanish Civil War. In fact there is no direct connection, for the
book deals only with Senor Barea's early youth and ends in 1914.
But the civil war made a deep and painful impression on the
English intelligentsia, deeper, I should say, that has yet been made
by the war now raging. The man in the street, misled by frivolous
newspapers, ignored the whole business, the rich mechanically
sided with the enemies of the working class, but to all thinking
and decent people the war was a terrible tragedy that has made
the word 'Spain' inseparable from the thought of burnt bodies
and starving children. One seems to hear the thunder of future
battles somewhere behind Senor Barea's pages, and it is as a sort of
prologue to the civil war, a picture of the society that made it
possible, that his book is most likely to be valued.
He was born into a very poor family, the son actually of a
washerwoman, but with uncles and aunts who were slightly richer
than his mother. In Catholic countries the clever boy of a peasant
family finds his easiest escape from manual labour in the priest-
hood, but Senor Barea, who had anticlerical relatives and was an
early unbeliever himself, after winning a scholarship at a Church
school, went to work at thirteen in a draper's shop, and after-
wards in a bank. All his good memories are of country places,

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