‘Now, as certainly as never before, we are determined or compelled to take sides.’ Nancy Cunard
In the 1930s, women and men from across Britain, Europe and America made their way to Spain to be part of what they identified as a historic fight for freedom from fascism. Tomorrow Perhaps the Future follows a handful of extraordinary outsiders who were determined to live out their lives with courage and conviction.
Sarah Watling weaves together the paths of the American journalists Martha Gellhorn and Josephine Herbst, the British writers and partners Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, the aristocratic rebel Jessica Mitford, and the maverick poet Nancy Cunard, drawing in their responses to the Spanish Civil War in both literature and life. She considers the wary position of Virginia Woolf, trying and failing to keep the conflict out of her family, and searches out the stories of African-American nurse Salaria Kea, Jewish photographer Gerda Taro and others, tracing their decisions to face up to history. For each woman, Spain became a defining episode of her life, where many of them found a freedom unthinkable at home.
A year into the struggle, Nancy Cunard took an urgent poll of contemporary writers asking the question straight: which side are you on? In our age of political divisions and war, Tomorrow Perhaps the Future is a book that asks questions of solidarity, resistance and the arts, which explores how we respond to the need to declare a side, and how we know when that moment – the moment to step forward – has arrived.