The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 16, 2017

March 16, 1969

Charlotte Haldane (April 27, 1894 to March 16, 1969 ) was a writer: a newspaper reporter, novelist, and biographer. When she left her first husband to marry J.B.S. Haldane, the scientist, the latter lost his readership at Cambridge because of being named co-respondent in the divorce proceedings (1925).

Regarding her political adventures her Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article says:

The rise of fascism affected her profoundly: after Hitler became chancellor of Germany she committed herself increasingly to the British Communist Party; when the Spanish Civil War broke out she energetically supported the republicans. She joined the party in 1937 after her son volunteered for the International Brigades. That spring she worked clandestinely in Paris for the British battalion; in London she initiated and became honorary secretary for the Dependants and Wounded Aid Committee. In 1938 she went to Spain as Paul Robeson's guide, to Marseilles to speak at the World Congress Against Fascism, and to China to report for the Daily Herald. She then edited
Woman Today for the British Women's Committee Against War and Fascism.

When Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941 Haldane became war correspondent for the Daily Sketch. She was the only woman on the first British war convoy to Russia, where she joined a group of distinguished American and British journalists. She had visited Russia in 1927 and questioned its political system. A socialist and ardent anti-fascist, she was never a Stalinist and in 1941 her party sympathies were severely challenged by the difference between what she had been led to believe and what she saw. She was so profoundly shocked that she left the party on her return. In Russian Newsreel (1942), her account of the Soviet Union at war, she avoided her personal political dilemma, which she discussed only in 1949 in her autobiography, Truth will out. The difficulties she experienced after leaving the party included, in November 1945, divorce from J. B. S. Haldane (who joined the party officially when she left and remained a prominent communist into the fifties), and problems getting her court awarded alimony. No vulgar McCarthyite, she none the less spoke bitterly against the party in that book.

From Her book Youth is a Crime (1934), we learn of her feline affiliations:

It was so strange cats. They were delightful pets, with their soft fur, their clear, triangular yellow eyes. It was nice, on a cold winter's evening, to sit by the stove, with a cat on your knees...

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