John Cornford

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cornford, John


Born Dec. 28, 1915, in Cambridge; died Dec. 27, 1936, in Córdoba, Spain. English poet and journalist. A leader of the British Komsomol; joined the British Communist Party in 1932.

Cornford attended Cambridge University (1934–36). He died in battle as an International Brigade volunteer in the National Revolutionary War in Spain of 1936–39. A revolutionary poet and Marxist critic, Cornford did his most vivid writing during the Spanish period—his diary, letters, and the narrative poem “Full Moon Over Tierza: Before the Storming of Huesca” (1936; Russian translation, 1937).


A Memoir. London, 1938.
Communism Was My Waking Time. Moscow, 1958.


Startsev, A. “Tri anglichanina.” Krasnaia nov’, 1938, no. 3.
Stansky, P., and W. Abrahams. Journey to the Frontier: Julian Bell and John Cornford. Their Lives and the 1930’s. London, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Costello had certainly known other, famous, communists while at Cambridge, such as John Cornford and James Klugmann.
Maclaurin was killed fighting in defence of Madrid and John Cornford, who was friendly with Bil, died a few weeks later.
Journey to the Frontier treated Bell and John Cornford, emblematic figures of the 1930s who died in Spain.
Yes, Spain was indeed a magnet for idealists - miners from Wales and the poet John Cornford, factory workers and clerks, and Giles and Esmond Romilly, Winston Churchill's nephews.
(3) Martin notes that in 1945, on her return to Australia, for a talk on poetry Palmer chose the work of Louis Aragon, John Cornford and John Manifold.
If I had been there I might have met my hero, John Cornford, whose "Great Life" I celebrate tomorrow at 4.30pm (repeated on Friday night) on BBC Radio 4 in the company of Mathew Parris and former Dundee University Professor Stan Smith.
The opener carried his bat for 102noand John Cornford weighed in with 97 as the Morda-Roadmen posted an impressive 256-2 from 50 overs.
As a Yale undergraduate in the early 1950s, he began to study history seriously, writing papers on John Cornford and Julian Bell, two of the literary jeunesse doree who participated and died in the Spanish Civil War, and two who survived their Spanish forays, Stephen Spender and George Orwell.
Yet, the Spanish Civil War was like no other war before or since, for it attracted intellectuals in such numbers that the names read like a Who's Who of the established and up-and-coming writers of the 1930s: Andre Malraux, Gustav Regler, Ludwig Renn, John Cornford, Louis Fischer, Christopher Caudwell, Arthur Koestler.
For example, John Cornford, in his "Left?" essay, identifies the "collapse into subjectivity of Eliot, Joyce, or Pound" as a "denial of the class struggle" (123).
It is unlikely that such ardent socialists as Christopher Caudwell and John Cornford would have changed their positions, had they survived.
A lasting influence on her politics and her poetry was the communist and Cambridge graduate, John Cornford, whom she had heard speak in London in 1935.