An English Poetic Rhapsodic Vision of The Spanish Civil War: An Intertextual Analysis of Roy Campbell’s Poetic Oeuvre


  • Luis Javier Conejero-Magro Universidad de Extremadura



Roy Campbell, Spanish Civil War, war literature, war poetry, literature of the thirties


This article revisits and re-examines Roy Campbell’s poems inspired by the Spanish Civil War: Flowering Rifle, Talking Bronco and “A Letter from the San Mateo Front”. The studies carried out by Esteban Pujals (1959), Stephen Spender (1980) and Bernd Dietz (1985) reflect the scarcity of research about Campbell’s warlike poems. The methodology used in this article aims to develop a better understanding of Campbell’s war images and literary references to the Spanish conflict, by analysing them in the light of the poet’s own political ideology. Campbell presents a paean to the ‘Nationalist’ leadership and this exaggerated idealising of the rebels and their deeds contrasts with the way he denigrates those in favour of the Republic. The article concludes that this exaggerated feat transforms most of these poetic works into quasi-Manichaean pamphlets resembling more a morality play than a work of modern literature.


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Bail Hoskins, Katherine. Today the Struggle: Literature and Politics in England During the Spanish Civil War. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1969.

Campbell, Roy. Flowering Rifle - Collected Poems. London: The Bodley Head, 1957.

Celada, Antonio R., and Daniel Pastor García. Eds. The International Brigades: 70 Years of Historic Memory. Salamanca: Amarú Ediciones, 2007.

Cunningham, Valentine. Ed. Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Dietz, Bernd. The Impact of the Spanish Civil War on English Poetry: 1936-1939. La Laguna: Universidad de La Laguna, 1985.

Díez, Luis. The Battle of Jarama. Madrid: Oberon, Grupo Anaya, 2005.

Pujals, Esteban. España y la guerra de 1936 en la poesía de Roy Campbell. Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1959.

Spender, Stephen. “The Talking Bronco. A Review of Roy Campbell, Flowering Rifle, 1939.” The Penguin Book of Spanish Civil War Verse. Ed. Valentine Cunningham. Suffolk: Penguin Books, 1980. 426-58.




How to Cite

Conejero-Magro, L. J. (2020). An English Poetic Rhapsodic Vision of The Spanish Civil War: An Intertextual Analysis of Roy Campbell’s Poetic Oeuvre. The Grove - Working Papers on English Studies, 27, 9–24.