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This interview is taken from PN Review 52, Volume 13 Number 2, November - December 1986.

Christopher Caudwell-A Conversation Paul Beard and Alan Young

Paul Beard went to school with Christopher St John Sprigg, and later discussed his poems with him as they were written. When Sprigg went to Spain in 1936, he asked Paul Beard to act as his literary executor should he fail to return. Christopher Sprigg was killed in action on 12 February 1937. The Poems of Christopher Caudwell, edited by Paul Beard, were published by The Bodley Head in 1939. A new, enlarged Collected Poems, edited by Alan Young, has been issued by Carcanet Press. In the following interview the two editors met at Paul Beard's London home.


Alan Young Your first encounter with Chris was at school - the Ealing Priory School, wasn't it?


Christopher Beard Yes, better known now as St Benet's. I don't think we were ever in the same class at school, but I got to know him well. And I realized even then that there was a maturity of detachment in Chris which was very unusual for a boy. It came out not only in his humorous comments about people and events, but also in the action which helped to bring about his leaving school early.


He left the school when he was about fourteen, didn't he? Wasn't this partly because the family was a bit short of the necessary cash?


Yes, I think it was partly. But it was also because Chris took a very strong stand ...


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