Anarchy's Brief Summer

The Life and Death of Buenaventura Durruti

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Translated by Mike Mitchell


 

6 x 9 inches, 316pp. October 2018

ISBN : 9780857426000


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Northern Spain is the only part of Western Europe where anarchism played a significant role in political life of the twentieth century. Enjoying wide-ranging support among both the urban and rural working class, its importance peaked during its 'brief summer'—the civil war between the Republic and General Franco’s Falangists, during which anarchists even participated in the government of Catalonia.

 

Anarchy’s Brief Summer brings anarchism to life by focusing on the charismatic leader Buenaventura Durruti (1896–1936), who became a key figure in the Spanish Civil War after a militant and adventurous youth. The basis of the book is a compilation of texts: personal testimony, interviews with survivors, contemporary documents, memoirs and academic assessments. They are all linked by Enzenberger’s own assessment in a series of glosses—a literary form that is somewhere between retelling and reconstruction—with the contradiction between fiction and fact reflecting the political contradictions of the Spanish Revolution. On the trail of forgotten, half-suppressed struggles, Anarchy’s Brief Summer offers a unique portrait of a revolutionary movement that is largely unknown outside Spain.


Hans Magnus Enzensberger, often considered Germany’s most important living poet, is also the editor of the book series Die Andere Bibliothek and the founder of the monthly TransAtlantik. His books include Lighter Than Air: Moral Poems and Civil Wars: From L.A. to Bosnia.

 


For many years a lecturer in German with a special interest in Austrian literature, Mike Mitchell has worked as a literary translator since 1995. He was awarded the 1998 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Herbert Rosendorfer’s Letters Back to Ancient China. Mitchell has also translated Peter Handke’s Till Day You do Part or A Question of Light and Max Frisch’s An Answer from the Silence, both published by Seagull Books.

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