An historian's life : Max Crawford and the politics of by Fay Anderson

By Fay Anderson

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Wystan Auden provided a telling commentary on the ‘frivolous’ Oxford he remembered. ’ Auden wrote. ‘Revolution in Russia, inflation in Germany and Austria, Fascism in Italy, whatever fears or hopes they may have aroused in our elders, went unnoticed by us. 73 Crawford’s liberalism was a cultural commitment rather than a call to overt political action. In 1928, he was elected to the Ralegh, ‘one of the University’s biggest political clubs composed of men from the colonies of the Empire’. 74 His political activity did not extend to the Labour Club, which was the most active and radical of the four political clubs at Oxford, or to participation in the demonstrations that had so offended Farnell.

102 Crawford’s growing attention to the history of ideas was also a legacy of his teaching in Australian and English schools. ’103 Crawford’s conceived ‘plan of attack’ for the project on Spain, set down in a notebook, indicated his evolving ideas. He began to develop Origins and Influences 33 the study beyond the brief structure devised in the application to the Rockefeller Committee. Influenced most profoundly by the intellectual Mandariago, Crawford considered themes of national character in Spanish society, writing and art from the past and present.

So Crawford was neither isolated, nor without intellectual awareness; yet he apparently ignored the international ramifications of Hitler and Mussolini. I shall be jolly glad to be back. ’149 His wife Thelma also proved an informative correspondent when she wrote a fascinating, if misdirected, letter to Dorothy Crawford: Stephen’s up in Berlin holding Premier Steven’s hand at the opening of the Olympic Games. Lucky Fellow! I have been listening to the excitement over the wireless. They sounded as if they had all gone completely insane.

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