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Extra info for An Historian's Life: Max Crawford and the Politics of Academic Freedom (Academic Monographs)
21 The self-criticism might have been provoked by his exposure to new ideas and possibilities. His achievement at Sydney suggests he was judging his performance too harshly. Both Le Gay Brereton and Wood left an indelible impression. Brereton inspired Crawford’s interest in fiction, poetry, theatre and drama. A benevolent and perceptive teacher, he recognised his student’s impatience and his ability to understand humanity with sympathy. 22 Wood, a nonconformist, taught British and European history and emphasised the importance of primary research.
Crawford’s fascination with Spain was by no means unusual. 138 The Spanish Civil War would be the great cause that captured the imagination and conscience of a literary and intellectual generation, both prominent Origins and Influences 41 and obscure, idealistic and cynical, of the right and the left. It provoked clichés of good and evil that fell easily into the two distinct ideological sides. As Cecil Day Lewis famously wrote, it appeared to be ‘the battle between light and darkness’. The historian Dante A.
129 He felt an affinity with him, as they shared similar views on Faculty matters and academic autonomy. 130 Although invigorated, Crawford was also confronted by the daily pressures of academic life: the burden of teaching and the pressure to produce original research work. His relationship with Roberts was uneasy, partly because of the latter’s superior manner and partly because Crawford felt that he was being exploited and treated as a subordinate. Personalities aside (and, by all accounts, Roberts was an exacting man), he was living the very life Crawford craved.