Hotel Continental Barcelona
Dear Mr Gollancz,
I didn’t get an opportunity earlier to write & thank you for the introduction you wrote to “Wigan Pier,” in fact I didn’t even see the book, or rather the L. B. C. edition of it, till about 10 days ago when I came on leave, & since then I have been rather occupied. I spent my first week of leave in being slightly ill, then there was 3 or 4 days of street-fighting in which we were all more or less involved, in fact it was practically impossible to keep out of it. I liked the introduction very much, though of course I could have answered some of the criticisms you made. It was the kind of discussion of what one is really talking about that one always wants & never seems to get from the professional reviewers. I have had a lot of reviews sent on to me, some of them very hostile but I should think mostly good from a publicity point of view. Also great numbers of letters from readers.
I shall be going back to the front probably in a few days and barring accidents I expect to be there till about August. After that I think I shall come home, as it will be about time I started on another book. I greatly hope I come out of this alive if only to write a book about it. It is not easy here to get hold of any facts outside the circle of one’s own experience, but with that limitation I have seen a great deal that is of immense interest to me. Owing partly to an accident I joined the P.O.U.M. militia instead of the International Brigade, which was a pity in one way because it meant I have never seen the Madrid front; on the other hand it has brought me into contact with Spaniards rather than Englishmen & especially with genuine revolutionaries. I hope I shall get a chance to write the truth about what I have seen. The stuff appearing in the English papers is largely the most appalling lies – more I can’t say, owing to the censorship. If I can get back in August I hope to have a book ready for you about the beginning of next year.
Eric A. Blair
Notes Orwell was shot through the throat eleven days later.
From the Complete Works, XI, 368, pp. 22-3