From George Kopp’s [1] last letter from Marseilles (after some rigmarole about the engineering work he has been doing): “…I am about to start production on an industrial scale. But I am not at all certain that I shall actually do so, because I have definite contracts with my firm, which has, I am afraid, developed lately connections which reduce considerably its independence and it is possible that another firm would eventually profit by my work, which I should hate since I have no arrangements at all with the latter and will not, for the time being, be prepared to sign any. If I am compelled to stop, I really don’t know what I am going to do; I wish some of my very dear friends to whom I have written repeatedly would not be as slow and as passive as they seem to be. If no prospects open in this field, I contemplate to make use of another process of mine, related to bridge-building [, which, you may remember, I have put into successful operation at San Mateo before the war.”]

Translated: “I am afraid France is going into full alliance with Germany. If the Second Front is not opened soon I shall do my best to escape to England”.

[1] Georges Kopp (1902-51), presented himself in many fictional forms but there is no doubt that he was Orwell’s commandant in Spain, a brave man who worked for the French secret service and then MI5. One remarkable irony was that one of those involved in recruiting him foe MI5 was the traitor, Anthony Blunt (1907-83). Orwell and he were friends and , despite Orwell’s perspicacity in seeing through those such as Peter Smollett, he went along with Kopp’s stories of himself. Bert Govaerts of Antwerp  has uncovered a great deal of Kopp’s life and fictions: see The Lost Orwell, pp. 83-91. 

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1 Response to 18.8.42

  1. M G says:

    “one of those involved in recruiting him foe MI5 was the traitor, Anthony Blunt (1907-83)”
    Shouldn’t that be ‘for?’ A typo or a Freudian slip.

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