Little is known about John Ernest Crawford Flitch who was born in Yorkshire in 1881 and died in 1946. He studied law at King’s College, Cambridge, eventually becoming a barrister. Later he developed a deep interest in Spanish issues focusing his work on this area. His first journey to Spain took place in 1911 after which he published in London the book Mediterranean moods, footnotes of travel in the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Sardinia. He wrote A little Journey in Spain. Notes of a Goya Pilgrimage after his second trip to Spain in 1913, in which he met Miguel de Unamuno. This was the beginning of a life-long friendship built on different encounters and letter exchanges that lasted until Unamuno’s death in 1936.
J. E. C. Flitch was not only a writer but a translator too. His English translation of Unamuno’s Tragic Sense of Life was published in 1921. It was considered by Unamuno the best translation of one of his books made in any language. The deep friendship that united Crawford Flitch and Unamuno is reflected in the different moments in which the British writer accompanied the Spanish philosopher. In 1919 Crawford Flitch established himself for several months in Salamanca in order to work closely with Unamuno in the English translation of Tragic Sense and during these months they made several excursions through different Spanish regions. During 40 days, in 1924, Flitch accompanied Unamuno in the first stage of his exile in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. He also visited the Basque intellectual during his exile in Hendaye, France.
Sources (indicative): García Blanco, ‘Un hispanista británico olvidado: J. E. Crawford-Flitch,’ Actas del Primer Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas celebrado en Oxford del 6 al 11 de septiembre de 1962, (1964), 289-297; ‘Flitch, John Ernest Crawford’ in J. Venn & J. A. Venn (eds.) Alumni Cantabrigienses. A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Volume 2: From 1752 to 1900. Part 2: Chalmers-Fytche, p. 523.
Posted by: Cristina Erquiaga Martínez
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