CAUDWELL, Christopher [pseudonym for Christopher St John SPRIGG]. Studies in a Dying Culture … with an introduction by John Strachey. London, John Lane, The Bodley Head, .
8vo. Original cloth with dust-wrappers (not price-clipped); pp. xxv, 228; spine, rear panel and slim strip of the front panel of the wrappers faded, light toning to endpapers, otherwise near-fine.
First edition of this posthumously published collection of essays on on D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Freud, Pacifism and Violence, Love, and Liberty, including a 24-page piece on TEL, titled A Study in Heroism. After a career as fleelance writer on aviation and journalist Sprigg joined the Communists of the East End of London. 'But in addition to his journalism and the rest, by which he "scratched a living", Sprigg was engaged on the serious work which distinguished him as perhaps British communism's sharpest intellectual of his time. He wrote plays and sub-Kafkaesque short stories, … Illusion and Reality was the first extended British attempt at a Marxist analysis of art, self, and literary history. It was conceptually rough-edged, but impressively ambitious and always suggestive, for all its adherence to Moscow's line on socialist realism and the abhorrence of modernism and popular culture. The Crisis in Physics boldly linked epistemological problems in science with the perceived threat to bourgeois economics. He also composed the wonderfully alert essays on aesthetics, bourgeois biology, modern thinkers, and cultic heroes (including the especially fine pieces on George Bernard Shaw, D. H. Lawrence, and T. E. Lawrence, (comparable in many ways with the essays of the great German Marxist Walter Benjamin) which became Studies in a Dying Culture (ODNB). He volunteered for the Spanish Civil War, and was killed in battle in February 1937. His body was never recovered.