George Orwell, Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War with Mark Planellas Witzsch - Context Travel

George Orwell, Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War with Mark Planellas Witzsch


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This conversation will deepen participants' understanding of the roots, development, and influence of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the involvement of the writer George Orwell in it. As such, it centers the focus in the city of Barcelona and the area of Catalonia, in the North-eastern part of Spain, which became the center of resistance of the democratic Republic against the putsch of the fascist General Franco.

The Spanish Civil War is one of those historical events that has generated a vast literary production, from essays to novels. On the other hand, due to its direct connection to one of the most tragic events in the twentieth century, the rise of Hitler’s regime and the Second World War, it is still a heated and recurrent topic in Spanish and international media. It has left open wounds in the Spanish Civil society and is, therefore, made the object of frequent subjective interpretations. In this seminar, we discuss George Orwell’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War and how the events in Barcelona exercised a notorious influence in the last novels of Orwell’s career.

Participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the origin and development of this tragic event that precluded the Second World War or is, de facto, the first chapter of it. 

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Mark Planellas Witzsch is active in several areas in the cultural field and taught philosophy of art and avant-gardes of the twentieth century at university, focusing on universally well-known Catalan artists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Catalonia being a part of Spain that has historically defended democracy and the ideals of the republic, the vast majority of its artists were committed to those Civil values and reflected it in their art. This led Mark Planellas to dive into some related topics, such as propaganda in the twentieth century, thus publishing books on the subject, such as “Jaume Miravitlles. El somriure de Catalunya”, which explains the history of the first modern propaganda ministry ever created, in the context of the Spanish Civil War.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.