In Homage to Catalonia Orwell begins by describing an encounter of his with an Italian man who took part in the revolution. He also later wrote a poem about their encounter. My question is whether we know the identity of this man. If we don't do we have any suspicions?

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    there were dzoens of italians in the Poum militia volunteers, whom Orwell was part of, and there are probably a lot of those that died, and had indirect or direct contact with him. He may or may not be a literary figure, though.
    – CptEric
    May 14, 2018 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


There was probably no such person. He made the man up to make a general point, though similar people existed, and it's likely Orwell met them.

I admire Orwell and agree with the political beliefs he expressed, about the Communists, and many other things. He was, however, a liar.

His autobiographical work, Down and out in Paris and London, was at least half made up. When he returned to England, he resumed his lodgings and his writing career, but in his book he said that he was living as a tramp for several more months. He said that he was present in France for the execution of two anarchists on dubious grounds, but he was really on a boat travelling home from Burma. I learnt this from the Complete Works of George Orwell Volume 1, edited by Peter Davison.

Later writers have mostly been generous towards Orwell. His lies were not told to make himself look good, or to besmirch his enemies, so he has that in mitigation. However, he was still lying, and it's likely that this was a lie too.

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