George Orwell to Victor Gollancz, 9 May 1937

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[1]. 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.

Yours sincerely,

Eric A. Blair


[1] Orwell was shot through the throat eleven days later.

From the Complete Works, XI, 368, pp. 22-3