By Fay Anderson
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Extra resources for An Historian's Life: Max Crawford and the Politics of Academic Freedom (Academic Monographs)
The Spanish electorate rejected dictatorship, the church and the monarchy. On 17 July, the Spanish generals rebelled, and the right decided to overthrow the elected Government. The country erupted in a prolonged and bitter civil war. Germany and Italy assisted Franco, while England and France adopted a non-interventionist policy, and Russia’s support for the republicans remained ambiguous. Crawford’s fascination with Spain was by no means unusual. 138 The Spanish Civil War would be the great cause that captured the imagination and conscience of a literary and intellectual generation, both prominent Origins and Influences 41 and obscure, idealistic and cynical, of the right and the left.
So he was delighted while visiting Kew Gardens to smell the scent of gums reminiscent of the Blue Mountains. 55 Crawford was slowly seduced by the history and tradition of England. 58 By October, Crawford was happily installed at Balliol. After a disappointing first impression, he was captivated by the orderly gardens, imposing buildings and formal silver service meals consumed in the oak-panelled dining hall. He expected the prestigious College would provide intellectual debate and lively talk, ranging from Gandhi to the ‘latest English eccentrics’.
Crawford perceived that he was the ‘chosen one’ of his family. ’ He wrote in his diary on the day of his departure. ‘She shows no sign of the struggle I know she is going through. 48 Crawford wrote at the time that she had worked ‘like a slave for him’. 49 The Crawford family, like many working and middle-class families, deemed education a social advantage and opportunity for advancement. 50 Margaret Cheshire, however, contradicted this and believed that both her grandparent’s were dedicated to the idea of education and in fact all the daughters were given the opportunity to train in their chosen vocation.
An Historian's Life: Max Crawford and the Politics of Academic Freedom (Academic Monographs) by Fay Anderson