Arturo Barea: From Civil War Madrid to Exile in Oxfordshire, FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival

The life and works of Barea epitomize Spain’s 20th century tragedy, particularly that of decent, independent-thinking intellectuals whose lives were shattered by the country’s Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Barea was to some extent part of what the historian Paul Preston calls the “third Spain”, the millions belonging neither to the extreme right nor the extreme left, who were caught up in a conflict they neither caused nor desired.

Barea was born in Badajoz, near the border with Portugal, in 1897, two years after my father, which, strangely, makes him feel less distant in time than otherwise might be. At a very early age, after his father died, Barea moved to Madrid where his mother Leonor earned her living by washing soldiers’ clothes in the Manzanares River and by working as a servant in the house of her brother. In the words of Barea’s paternal grandmother: “When your mother became a widow, all God did for her was to leave her alone in the hotel with two duros in her pocket and your father stiff and cold in his bed.” A duro was five pesetas, the former Spanish currency.

Unlike his two brothers and sister, Arturo lived with his well-to-do uncle and aunt and at the weekend would rejoin the family. From an early age, he was caught between two worlds.

The evocative opening of The Forge, the first book of his autobiographical trilogy, which was first published in English in 1941 by Faber and Faber, three years after he fled Spain and arrived in England, plunges the reader into his childhood.

The wind blew into the two hundred pairs of breeches and filled them. To me they looked like fat men without a head, swinging from the clothes-lines of the drying-yard. We boys ran along the rows of white trousers and slapped their bulging seats. Señora Encarna was furious. She chased us with the wooden beater she used to pound the dirty grease out of her washing. We took refuge in the maze of streets and squares formed by four hundred damp sheets, Sometimes she caught one of us; then the others would begin to throw mud pellets at the breeches. They left stains as though somebody had dirtied his pants, and we imagined the thrashing some people would get for behaving like pigs.

The trilogy, known as The Forging of a Rebel, marvellously translated by Barea’s second wife Ilsa, is the finest and most honest literary testament to the forces that shaped Spain and, in particular the author, in the first 40 years of the 20th century: the stultifying orthodoxy of the all powerful Catholic Church, the corrupt army, extreme poverty, sexual mores, the world of work. There is no better way of understanding the old reactionary Spain and what led to the Civil War.

The trilogy did not appear in Spanish until 1951 and then in Buenos Aires. It was not published in Spain until 1978, three years after the end of the Franco dictatorship.

Barea left his Jesuit school at 13. He was very intelligent and sensitive and could have been a charity scholarship boy and stayed on, but his atheist grandmother would not stand for it as she feared he would be lured into becoming a priest. Instead, he went to work in a costume jewellery shop where he also slept. He lost that position when he reacted angrily to a ticking off by the owner. He returned to school to study accountancy and joined the French bank Crédit Lyonnais and the Socialist General Union of Workers. This was followed by a series of jobs during World War 1, during which Spain was neutral, including being a travelling buyer for a German merchant, buying diamonds in France for re-sale in Spain and Latin America. At the age of 18, Barea was staying in hotels in Paris with money to spare. He then used the money inherited from his uncle to open a small co-operative to make toys and dolls.

Barea served his compulsory military service in Ceuta and Morocco, rising to the rank of sergeant and seeing action and plenty of corruption in the Spanish army in the Rif War during the early 1920s, all of it recounted in The Track, the second part of the trilogy. He then headed an office registering patents and in 1924 entered an unhappy marriage, which produced four children.

By then he had developed a deep sense of injustice. Many years later Barea wrote of that period that he was “no use as a capitalist. I don’t want to exploit the stupidity and wretchedness of other people and I don’t want them to exploit me. I can’t change the world, at least that is what they tell me, and the socialists say I can’t belong to them after being a boss. So now, what? I have to do something completely different to show the world its true face.”

In the foreword to The Track, Barea set out his artistic ambition. “I wanted to discover how and why I became what I am, to understand the forces and emotions behind my present reactions. I tried to find them, not through a psychological analysis, but by calling up the images and sensations I had once seen and felt, and later on absorbed and re-edited.” His background and wide working experience and his straddling of two worlds – the cockroach-infested garret of his mother whom he adored and the bourgeois circles in which he later moved – placed him in an ideal position to do this. He did not feel comfortable with either world and was very much an outsider.

In August 1936, after General Franco’s uprising against the democratically elected government of the Republic that had been declared in 1931 following King Alfonso XIII’s departure into exile, Barea was working in the Office of Foreign Press Censorship in Madrid and had published little apart from some poetry and a few short stories. When Franco’s forces were at the gates of the city in November the Republican government moved to the safer city of Valencia, but Barea remained in besieged Madrid as head of censorship. The front line of fighting was less than a mile from his office.

As well as working in the censorship office, Barea became one of the first frequent radio broadcasters in Spain, acquiring some fame as la voz desconocida de Madrid (the “unknown voice of Madrid”), where he spoke about the bravery of the common people fighting fascism. He broadcast from a mattress-muffled cellar in an attempt to reduce the background noise of the constant bombing of Madrid. The Clash, the third part of the trilogy, recounts Barea’s civil war experiences.

He witnessed the storming of the Montaña barracks shortly after the civil war started and the terrible massacre there, the kangaroo courts set up by anarchists which sentenced opponents to death on the flimsiest of evidence – under the euphemism of “taking the person for a ride”. This usually meant being taken to the Casa del Campo and shot.

Aided by Ilsa Kulcsar, a multi lingual married Austrian who came to Madrid to defend the Republican cause, Barea did his best to relax the censorship. The two began an affair.

The censorship was aimed at eliminating the slightest suggestion of anything other than a Republican victory, but was often counter productive and largely unworkable. It is said that the first casualty of war is truth; Barea and Ilsa sought to correct that at the expense of harassment from communist authorities for taking too independent a line.

Herbert Matthews of the New York Times evaded the censorship by having the Paris bureau telephone him at a time when the censors were having dinner. When Franco’s forces split Republican Spain in two, the government tried to delay the news getting out. Vincent Sheenan of the New York Herald Tribune said the word “censored” every time he reached a part of what he was reading out over the telephone that had been pencilled out. As Sheenan later recounted his story “bristled with the ominous word (censored) in italics and consequently looked fully as disastrous for the Republic as the events had actually been.” Other famous correspondents that Barea dealt with included Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn and John dos Passos.

Barea owed his job as a censor to a communist contact of his, but he was not himself a communist, unlike Ilsa who had been a member of the Party in Vienna during the 1920s. She left the party disillusioned some time before she went to Spain. In Vienna Ilsa knew Kim Philby, who later became a double agent before defecting to the Soviet Union in 1963. Philby covered Franco’s side of the Civil War for The Times, a job he took in order to burnish his credentials as a supposed fascist sympathiser and which led to his recruitment by MI6.

Barea found himself in perpetual conflict between the contradictory orders from the communist-dominated bureaucracy in Valencia and the War Commissariat in Madrid. He despaired at the divisions and sub-divisions of the Left and at the violent anti-clericalism. He witnessed the burning of a church and of the Jesuit Escuela Pía which he had attended. He later wrote: “I went home in profound distress. It was impossible to applaud the violence. I was convinced that the Church of Spain was an evil which had to be eradicated. But I revolted against this stupid destruction.” He was horrified when he found out that a childhood friend went out with a group of anarchists killing supposed “Fascists” in order to disprove allegations that he himself was a Fascist.

Barea illuminates one of the great moral problems of the Civil War: did tortures and executions by fascists justify the use of the same means by communists and anarchists in the struggle to defend the democratically elected Republic? His answer was a principled “no” at a time when that answer could potentially have made him a victim of a Republican zone killing.

Barea lived through the shelling of Madrid. The Telefónica building in the Gran Vía where he worked was hit by over 120 shells. One day in the street he saw “a lump of grey mass, the size of a child’s fist, was flattened out against the glass pane of a show-window and kept on twitching. Small, quivering drops of grey matter were spattered around it. A fine thread of watery blood was trickling down the pane, away from the grey-white lump with the tiny red veins, in which the torn nerves were still lashing out.”

It was a scrap of human brain.

“I wanted to cry out… If I was to stay on fighting against my nerves and my mind…I had to do something more… So I continued to write, and I began to speak on the radio.”

The American writer Dos Passos described Barea at that time as “underslept and underfed” and “cadaverous”. He suffered from shell shock and had a nervous breakdown. In November 1937 he and Ilsa left Madrid for Barcelona where he finished his first book Valor y Miedo (Courage and Fear), a collection of pieces of social realism propaganda, many of which had begun as radio broadcasts. While in the Catalan capital, Barea met Ilsa’s Austrian husband, Leopold, a Stalinist agent and interrogator, who helped them obtain exit visas, enabling them to leave Spain in February 1938. Leopold’s sudden death in the January had enabled Barea, who had divorced his wife, to marry Ilsa. The Catalan judge who married them in Barcelona told them: “One of you is a widow, the other divorced. What could I say to you that you don’t know?” A week later they were driven to the border with France in a car belonging to the British Embassy. The car broke down. The police came to their rescue, driving them to the frontier with the small Union Jack taken from the Embassy car placed on the bonnet.

In Paris, to Barea’s wry amusement, he and Ilsa stayed in the Hôtel de l’Alhambre in Rue de l’Alhambre in Paris which if you pronounce it the Spanish way becomes Hôtel del Hambre in Rue del Hambre, Hunger Hotel in Hunger Street. They practically starved. Had he stayed in Spain, he almost certainly would have been executed after the civil war as so many people were, and there was a very real risk that Ilsa might have been murdered during the war as she was suspected of being a Trotskyist, and therefore considered a spy by Stalinists. This was the fate that met the POUM leader Andrés Nin who was skinned alive under torture in 1937 when there was a war within a war on the Republican side.

The Bareas arrived in England in March 1939, the month the Spanish Republic collapsed. Barea was, in his own words, “spiritually smashed … I disembarked with nothing, My life was broken in two. I had no perspectives, no country, no home, no job.” What he did have with him was a draft of the first chapters of The Forge, written on a typewriter given to him in Paris by Sefton Delmer, the correspondent in Spain of The Daily Express.

Delmer had persuaded his newspaper to publish a story of Barea’s in 1937 about a militiaman who made a fly his pet, and had provided the headline: “This story was written under shellfire by the Madrid censor – who lost his inhibitions about writing by censoring our dispatches.”

He was a nervous wreck: for several years the sounding of sirens to warn of German bombing raids after World War Two started in September made him vomit as it reminded him of the shelling of Madrid. He considered emigrating to Mexico and submitted a request to the Mexican Embassy in Paris. I have here a copy of the list of Spanish Republicans who applied to emigrate under the category of “without funds to travel.” Others on the list included Republicans held in makeshift concentration camps in appalling conditions on beaches in south east France after they had crossed the border on foot.

This could have been Barea’s fate; in this sense he was lucky to have made it to England where he felt very much at home. As he wrote: “More than expected and more than seemed likely in a Spaniard, I took to English life at once, and fell in love with the English countryside.” The Spectator published in August 1939 his first article in English, translated, as always, by Ilsa. Barea could read English, but not speak it very well. It was called “A Spaniard in Hertfordshire” as he was living in the village of Puckeridge.
We have among us today, the son of Barea’s doctor when he lived in that village.
Here are two extracts from it.

It took me a long time to believe that the policeman’s home was that ordinary, nice little house in our road, with an average garden of tulips and wallflowers—or rather sweet peas and lilies at present. The sign ” Herts Constabulary” convinced me, but the tall young red-cheeked fellow in shirt-sleeves tying up sweet peas looked like something out of a story to me. Till I saw him in full uniform on his bike—on his bike! And I kept thinking of the grim Spanish Guardia Civil on their black horses, under their bicorne hats, who always have to go in pairs because they have the inveterate hatred of the whole countryside against them. Spanish country police live in barracks, completely isolated from normal village life. Their wives come under barracks discipline, too. One can’t imagine them taking off their uniforms even for going to bed. “Their souls of lacquered leather,” says the poet Federico Garcia Lorca of them. When our foreigners’ registration cards were issued, we were not ordered to fetch them at the police-station in the little county town but the constable brought all papers to our house. Did he know that this little thing affected us as the best possible propaganda for the English system?

He continues further down the article:

What I am quite proud of is the fact that I have now mastered the rules of the game played each morning when people meet in the street : “Lovely morning, Sir.”
“Very nice day, isn’t it?”
At the beginning I tried earnestly to say that it looked like rain when it did. But after having heard many times a reproachful: “Oh, don’t say that, Sir,” I understand that here I have come across a national complex. Now I answer always : “Yes, indeed, a very nice day,” even if the shower hangs already over our heads. After all, these are still “nice,” peaceful days which I, the refugee, can appreciate more than others

I sent this article to Harry Eyres, little knowing he would cite it in a recent Slow Lane column when he wrote about a country’s values, in this case British ones, and how they come more sharply into focus when seen by an outsider, as he or she can contrast them with those of their native land.
Barea became a British citizen in 1948.

Gerald Brenan, the author of The Spanish Labyrinth, still one of the most perceptive accounts of the background to the civil war, and whom I met at his home in Spain in 1976, knew Barea in England and wrote this vivid portrait of him. “He was a dark, slight man with a lean, rather worn face – not in the least the type of Spanish intellectual, but suggesting rather a mechanic. The sort of man one would run into in any Madrid café or bar. He talked well in a serious, straightforward way, but needed frequent glasses of beer to keep him going. He enjoyed talking in pubs with local people and growing vegetables in his garden, but his experience in the war and the spate of executions that followed it had saddened him. He was very like his books, truthful and serious and without recriminations or hatred.”

Ilsa’s linguistic skills quickly got her a job in August 1939 at the BBC Monitoring Service at Wood Norton in Evesham, and their precarious life began to improve. They were joined by Ilsa’s parents, Alice and Valentin Pollak. Her father, a Jewish social democrat, had fled Austria as a result of the Nazi threat. A little over a year later Barea landed a job with the BBC Latin American Service, after he was rejected by the BBC Spanish service as being too compromised politically.

Between 1940 and 1957 Barea gave more than 800 15-minute broadcasts, under the pseudonym “Juan de Castilla” in order to protect his family in Spain. His starting brief was to counter Nazi propaganda in South America during the Second World War by presenting a positive view of British life, and there was a continuing need to do this after the war, particularly in Argentina.

These reflective monologues, often observing and describing English life from his vantage-point as a sympathetic outsider, regularly topped the listeners’ annual poll. Barea liked to frequent pubs – his favourite one in Faringdon was The Volunteer – as it brought him into contact with a wide spectrum of society. A regular feature of his talks was “la tabernita de Frank”, an archetypal village pub run by Frank where the issues of the day were debated.

For those of you who understand Spanish, I recommend the book that Nigel Townson put together called Palabras Recobradas and published in 2000, which gathers together some of these talks and other material including literary criticism. Sadly, none of the BBC recordings remain as they were all destroyed. Ilsa’s niece Uli Rushy-Smith has had some of them translated and is trying to find a publisher for them. Here is an extract from one of them about a tramp, a figure that has almost disappeared.

Around this time every year, the same tramp passes through my village. He’s closer to seventy than to fifty: I calculate that he must be about sixty-five years old. Tall and thin, he is made up of rope-like muscles and sinews.

It seems that in the house where I live, it has always been traditional for this English tramp to call at the door and ask respectfully for some hot water to make tea; although, as a new tenant, I gave him a shock the first year that he met me, we became friends from that time onwards and we have kept up the tradition. It started like this:

‘ Isn’t Mrs So-and-So (the previous inhabitant) at home?’ he asked.
‘No’, I said, ‘she died almost a year ago, and I live here now’.
In one hand he held his cap and in the other a smoke-blackened tin. He explained, stammering a little, ‘It’s just that, you know, the lady here was in the habit of giving me some boiling water to make my tea, when I come through these parts. She was a lovely person who always looked out for poor folk’.
‘And what would you like? Water to make tea with?’
‘If it’s no trouble…’
I invited him into the kitchen and offered him the teapot.
‘Ha! No, sir. The only thing I’m after is the boiling water. I’ve got the tea along with me, with the sugar and everything. I like to drink it my own way, you know?’
The man went ahead and filled his tin with boiling water and headed out to a field near the house. He sat on a slope and drank his tea from one of those tin canteens used by the soldiers of every army. I took a plate with a few slices of cake and went to take it out to him.

The 1940s were an intensely creative period for Barea. Shortly after the first volume of the triology came out in 1941, he published Struggle for the Spanish Soul which examined the ideological roots of Francoism and appeared alongside Orwell’s The Lion and the Unicorn in the Searchlight series. Orwell had admired The Forge, describing Barea as “one of the most valuable of the literary acquisitions that England has made as a result of Fascist persecution.”

The typescript and first proof of this book were destroyed during a German bombing raid of London. Fred Warburg, his publisher, wrote to Barea.

“ I am sorry to have to tell you that the printers who had in hand the setting of your book have been utterly destroyed in the Plymouth blitz. In the course of the raid, not only was stock destroyed but the typescripts, including the typescript of your book, were lost. That is to say, they were kept every night in the safe and the safe was buried under the ruins and has not yet been located. It may, of course, be that when it is located it can be opened and the typescript inside may be intact but for practical purposes we must assume that your typescript is lost, especially as there is no telling how long it may be before the safe can be found.”

Luckily, Barea had a duplicate typescript.

The book was followed by the second and third parts of the trilogy, a pioneering study of Lorca and a pamphlet called Spain in the post-war world, published by the Fabian Society. The Forging of a Rebel was translated into nine European languages, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s Barea was fifth in the list of the most translated Spanish writers, after Cervantes, Ortega y Gasset, Blasco Ibáñez and Lorca.

Barea was also a brave and perceptive literary critic, notably in his long and devastating review of Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, published in the magazine Horizon, about the Civil War. The review is titled “Not Spain but Hemingway” and in it Barea attributes the author’s failure to render the reality of the war in imaginative writing to “the fact that Hemingway was always a spectator who wanted to be an actor, and who wanted to write as if he had been an actor.” By actor Barea means protagonist. “Yet it is not enough to look on,” the review continued. “To write truthfully you must live, and you must feel what you are living.” Barea achieved what Hemingway did not.

In 1947, Barea and Ilsa moved to Middle Lodge at Buscot Park on the edge of Faringdon, a house provided by Gavin Henderson, the second Lord Faringdon, who was a surprising supporter of the Spanish Republican cause. The Eton and Oxford educated lord and in his youth one of the “bright young things” made famous in the novels of his contemporary, Evelyn Waugh, became a Socialist. He converted his Rolls Royce into an ambulance and joined a field hospital in Aragon run by British volunteers in the Civil War. Barea probably met the lord via the Labour Party and/or the Fabian Society.

In 1938, nine years before Barea arrived at Buscot Park, the lord was approached by Poppy Vulliamy who told him that as a socialist he should be sharing his mansion with a group of homeless and “difficult” Basque children. They were part of almost 4,000 children, aged between 5 and 16, who had come to Britain in 1937 on the ageing ship Habana after the aerial bombing of Guernica by German and Italian forces supporting Franco. This is still the largest single influx of refugees into Britain.

Poppy had found them a temporary home in a derelict rectory in Suffolk and later at Thame, where they spent a cold winter. As Martin Murphy recounted in an article in the TLS published in 2013, the lord was not prepared to go that far, but he did make available a lodge beside the lake on his estate, which became known as Basque House.

The Spanish poet Luis Cernuda, stranded in England by the Civil War, joined the Basque colony as a teacher. One of the boys who was dying in the Radcliffe Infirmary asked to see Cernuda in order to hear him read a poem. “Please don’t go”, the boy said when the poem ended, “but I’m going to turn to the wall so you won’t see me die.” Seconds later, the boy was dead. The boy’s death inspired Cernuda’s “Elegía a un muchacho vasco muerto en Inglaterra” (Elegy for a Basque boy who died in England), which contains the following line, as translated by Martin: “You turned your head to the wall with the gesture of a child afraid to betray frailty of purpose.”

Barea liked to cook and was very hospitable. It is said that he introduced the paella to Faringdon. One person who benefited from the Spanish cuisine, and is with us today, remembers arriving at Middle Lodge in the 1950s for lunch and being offered calamares (squid). As David Buckle told me, “Being a bit suspicious, I decided not to eat it and Arturo made me an omelette. A few weeks later I arrived and Arturo met me at the door and told me he had a nice surprise for me. He blind-folded me and led me to the kitchen. I sat down in my normal place and Arturo said he had cooked something special for me and hoped I would like it. Having tasted it, I said how nice it was. He then said, ‘remove your blind-fold.’ To my surprise I discovered it was the food I had previously refused. I said it was marvellous and enjoyed it many times thereafter”. David was a shop steward at Cowley, and Barea often wanted to know what was going on in the car industry in Oxford and would question him.

In 1951, Barea published a novel, The Broken Root, about a Spanish Republican in exile, like himself, who returns to Spain after 10 years to discover what happened to his family and leaves again as he finds he is a stranger in his own country.

In 1956, Ilsa invited her orphaned niece Uli to leave Vienna and live with them at Middle Lodge.

That same year the BBC sent Barea on a 56-day tour of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay where he had a large following. When the Franco regime got wind of the trip, it sought to denigrate Barea by calling him “the Englishman Arturo Beria” in reference to Stalin’s state security chief, Beria. This was not the first time the Spanish authorities sought to discredit Barea. In 1952, Barea received a letter from George Pendle, a BBC correspondent, who had included Barea in an article on Spanish culture.

“To my astonishment the very slight reference to yourself in the enclosed article on Spanish reviews has brought me a letter from the cultural authorities in Madrid stating that you are not a Spanish author at all. These people inform me that you are no more a Spanish writer than Santayana, or than Conrad was a Polish writer. They say that you dictate to your wife (in some language whose identity they avoid divulging), and she puts your thoughts into English. With your permission, I should like to refute this official statement and I wonder, therefore, whether you would be willing to tell me how, in fact, you do work.”

There was no mystery to how Barea worked. He typed in Spanish – English keyboards have no accents so Barea had to put them in by hand – sitting opposite Ilsa at the same table. Then Ilsa read his texts, and sometimes they discussed some points, and when Arturo was happy with it, Ilsa translated it into English and or German.

Barea died in his sleep on Christmas Eve 1957, aged 60. The anonymous obituary in The Times, written by his friend Joan Gili, a Catalan bookseller who lived near Oxford, said Barea’s work “will last for its high artistic quality and as a human document of our century. His outstanding qualities were his intellectual honesty and a passionate sincerity, qualities which imparted to his work a realism devoid of vulgarity, as through seen through an innocent eye.”

In 2010, my wife and came across Barea’s deteriorated commemorative stone, a rough-hewn lump of granite, in the annexe of Faringdon Churchyard. Finding it had become something of an obsession, and it took three attempts during our infrequent visits to the UK as we did not know there was an annexe to the main churchyard at All Saints Church, until Natalia Benjamin, who runs the Basque Children of ’37 Association from her home near Oxford, put us on the right path.

Next to it are the graves of Ilsa’s parents where Barea’s ashes had been spread. The stone to Barea was placed after Ilsa’s death in Vienna in 1973 by Olive Renier who befriended them in their first years in exile. Years later Renier wrote: “I put up a stone, but could find no words to express my feelings for those four people, whose fate (though they could be said to be among the fortunate ones) was symbolic of the giant lost causes of our generation – the fate of Spain, the fate of the Jews, the fate of social democracy in Germany, in Italy, in Europe as a whole.”

Back in Madrid, I told several Spanish friends and admirers about the stone and we decided to pay for it to be restored. And rather than try to obtain a English Heritage blue plaque to be placed at Middle Lodge, which very few people would see, we also organized a plaque for the facade of The Volunteer, Barea’s favourite pub in the centre of Faringdon.

The plaque was designed by the octogenarian Herminio Martínez, one of the 4,000 Basque children who had been evacuated from Bilbao and stayed in England.

Talking of memorials, I see that plans are afoot to unveil one in Oxford’s Bonn Square later this year in honour of the 31 known volunteers from Oxfordshire who laid their lives on the line in defence of the Spanish Republic. Six were killed. Donations are still needed. If anyone feels like making a donation Chris Farman, the co-author of a book on these volunteers, is with us today.

Barea never returned to Spain, but his Underwood typewriter did along with the obituary of him in The Times stuffed inside the well-worn typewriter case. After a very well-known Spanish novelist wrote about my gestures, an English woman who had been given the typewriter long after Barea died contacted him to ask if he would like to have it. It now has pride of place in his home in Madrid.

After Barea died, Ilsa and her niece Uli moved to London. Ilsa returned to Vienna in the late 1960s. Uli was left the archive and will donate it to the Bodleian Library next year. Uli was hoping to be with us today but could not make it.

For those of you interested in reading Barea’s trilogy, I recommend you buy the single volume paperback edition published by Granta. Anyone wishing to know more about Barea’s life should read Michael Eaude’s critical biography Triumph at the Midnight of the Century, and Amanda Vaill’s Hotel Florida which features Barea and Hemingway, among others, whose lives revolved around that Madrid hotel during the Civil War.