Ralph Fox

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Fox, Ralph


Born Mar. 30, 1900, in Halifax, Nova Scotia; died Jan. 2, 1937, near Córdoba, Spain. British writer and historian. Member of the Communist Party of Great Britain from 1925.

Fox graduated from Oxford University in 1918. He first visited the Soviet Union in 1920, and from 1930 to 1932 he worked at the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute in Moscow. Fox died in action while serving as assistant political commissioner of the Anglo-Irish Brigade of the International Legion during the national revolutionary war of the Spanish people (1936–39).

Writing from a Marxist point of view, Fox dealt with contemporary problems in his critical works on literature and history, which included articles on J. Galsworthy and H. G. Wells, and the works Lenin: A Biography (1933), The Class Struggle in Britain (1933), and Portugal Now (1937; Russian translation, 1937). His article “In Defence of Communism: A Reply to Harold Laski” helped propagandize Marxism-Leninism in Great Britain and criticized the reformist views of Labour Party ideologists.

Fox summed up his views in The Novel and the People (published 1937), in which he wrote with great conviction on the exhaustion of contemporary bourgeois culture and the prospects of the arts developing in the vein of socialist realism. As a critic and fiction writer, for example, in his collection of sketches and stories People of the Steppes (1925) and his novel Storming Heaven (1928), he persistently warned against the use of socialist realism in a narrow and purely political manner. Fox, however, overestimated the importance of 18th-century literature and underestimated the critical realism of the 19th century. Like many Marxist literary scholars of the 1930’s, he attached undue importance to vulgar sociologism.


Ralph Fox: A Writer in Arms. London, 1937.
In Russian translation:
Angliiskaia kolonial’naia politika. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Roman i narod. Moscow, 1960.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1958.
Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskaia literatura XX v. Moscow, 1967.


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Here, given constraints of length, I simplify my account of these London-based Indian writers and present in sketch outline the case of two prime actors, the Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand and one of his CPGB patrons, Ralph Fox, who was both on the Central Committee of the British Party and affiliated with the Comintern.
12) But another factor may have been his acquaintance with Ralph Fox (1900-36); as to whether Fox inspired the shift, or whether Anand became more open to Fox's influence after he made it, I could only speculate, but certainly the shift dates from around 1932, when Fox returned from the Soviet Union.
On most occasions a lecture on advanced Marzian [sic] topics has been delivered by RALPH FOX (the well-known Communist author).
Their meetings were attended and occasionally addressed by Ralph Fox, [Rupert] John Cornford, and Christopher Caudwell, all three of whom were highly educated English writers and communist activists.
Ralph Fox in The Novel and the People emphasized the importance of depicting a novel's protagonist as a "living man," a man of flesh and blood, not some plaster-cast saint or titanic hero.
13) Don Hallen, "'The Hand That History Dealt': Ralph Fox (1900-1936)," Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society 17, new series (2009): 113; Michael Freeman, "Ralph Fox: Telling the Times" (unpublished manuscript, 2009), 27; Workers' notebook, Ralph Fox, "Catching Tatars," Daily Worker, 8 January 1936.
16; Security Service File, National Archives of Great Britain KV 2/1377, 15, 28, 92; Freeman, Ralph Fox, 149, 207; Hallen, "'Hand That History Dealt,'" 114.
3 (1927): 36-55; Marx Memorial Museum and Archive, Ralph Fox files, letter of Bill Alexander, 2 May 1978.
Ralph Fox, the novelist and biographer of Lenin and one of the first commissars of the British Battalion, was there, and so too was Winston Churchill's nephew, Esmond Romilly, who was later to write his memoir, Boadilla.
John Cornford, Christopher Caudwell, and Ralph Fox were all killed in the first year of the war.
Ralph Fox, day services co-ordinator for Friend-ship Care Choices, said: "The Haven Centre is another aspect of our aim of encouraging people with mental ill health to live as fulfilling and independent a life as possible .
RALPH FOX, 77, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for Lincoln, Neb.