Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 160

Man’s Hope has had a mixed reception. Some readers have found it to be too journalistic, diffuse, and even propagandistic—a disappointment after Malraux’s earlier success in La Condition humaine (1933; Man’s Fate, 1934). Malraux thought of Man’s Hope as his highest achievement, however, and later critical opinion came around to this view, praising Man’s Hope for its masterly blend of emotion and intellect, its treatment of individualized characters in a mass movement, its penetration into the problematics of Communism and existentialism, its profound use of authentic detail and meaningful metaphor.

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Because of its historical background, Man’s Hope can be usefully compared to other well-known books about the Spanish Civil War: Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) and George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia (1938). Interesting comparisons can also be made between Man’s Hope and the 1947 film of the same title that Malraux made from it, which is also known as Sierra de Teruel.

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