Thursday, February 08, 2007

D. R. Davies XV: Spainish Disillusionment

Davies went to Bilbao with the Dean of Canterbury and Professor Macmurray. He was impressed with the regional government, especially with its youth. However, what Davies saw of the fighting sickened him. Like the rest of the left in Britain, he had seen the conflict in Manicaean terms, yet when he saw the death and suffering, he came to see that both sides were human. Already concerned about Stalin's show-trials, his Spanish experience finally killed off D. R. Davies' humanism:

"When I set out for Spain," he later reflected, "I was more than half-way to the conclusion that man was inescapably corrupt, that Utopia was beyond his power, and when in Spain I saw the horror and tragedy and bestiality of man, I was rapidly driven the rest of the way. On my journey to Spain I possessed a dying faith. On my return I brought back a corpse. Within a few months despair had made my life an insupportable burden."

Davies spoke at fund-raising meetings for the cause of the Spanish Republicans, using his powerful oratorical abilities for the cause. But his heart was no longer in it. In the August of 1937, Davies resolved to take a holiday at a place redolent with childhood memories, Southerndown in the Vale of Glamorgan. His world was a wreck, his marriage on the rocks, and now he had lost his faith in humanity. Davies could see no way ahead, nor could he feel any comfort. No-one, it seemed, cared for his soul.



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