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Understand the Weapon, Understand the Wound (2e)

Collected Writings

John Cornford

Edited by Jonathan Galassi

Understand the Weapon
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 784102 48 7
Series: Fyfield Books
Categories: 20th Century, British, Spanish and Catalan, War writings
Imprint: FyfieldBooks
Edition: 2nd
Published: March 2016
216 x 138 x 6 mm
238 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Digital access available through Exact Editions
  • Description
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  • Reviews
  • John Cornford (1915–1936) has long been held in high estimation as the outstanding English writer who fell to the Fascists in Spain. This collection of writings from Cornford’s thirteenth to his twenty-first year, when he died of wounds received in action, is a revealing autobiography, showing the sources of his political and literary commitments. In this authoritative survey of Cornford’s poems, essays and letters, Jonathan Galassi gives access to material not available elsewhere; his introduction and notes, together with two new afterwords by Jane Bernal and Richard Baxell, situate the work in its political and personal contexts. As Galassi suggests in his introduction, the republication of Cornford’s writings eighty years after his death ‘celebrates the gem-like intensity of one young man’s prodigious desire and need to change the world.’

    'Understand the weapon, understand the wound:
    What shapeless past was hammered to action by his deeds,
    Only in constant action was his constant certainty found.
    He will throw a longer shadow as time recedes.'

    from ‘Sergei Mironovitch Kirov’
    John Cornford
    Rupert John Cornford (1915 – 1936) was an English poet, communist and Charles Darwin’s great-grandson. He was a member of the International Brigades and died while fighting fascism during the Spanish Civil War. Born in Cambridge, Cornford was educated at Stowe School and Trinity College. As an undergraduate he joined the ... read more
    Jonathan Galassi
    JONATHAN GALASSI is Publisher and Editor in Chief of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Carcanet has published his translations of the Italian poet Eugenio Montale which won the Weidenfeld Prize in 1999. He is chairman of the Academy of American Poets and lives in Brooklyn, New York. His first collection of poems, ... read more
    Praise for John Cornford '€˜Cornford'€™s life speaks for itself in a way that burns the imagination. The fact that Cornford lived is an important lesson to the leaders of democracies. It shows that people will live and die and fight for democracy if it gives them the justice and freedom which are worth fighting for.'
    Stephen Spender
    Praise for Jonathan Galassi '... these poems trace out - sometimes playfully, but always with a grave intelligence - the inner trajectory of their speaker's life in language at once jagged and intensely musical.'

    John Koethe 
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