John Brande Trend, the first Professor of Spanish in Cambridge in 1933, arrived at his Chair by a circuitous route through a variety of disciplines, encountering a host of prominent people in pre-war political, cultural and intellectual life. It was this wider experience that made his teaching so unique and makes his story central to the period through which he lived. At Cambridge with the doomed generation who were to perish in the First World War, Trend studied Natural Sciences but fell under the spell of the musicologist Edward Dent, who became his lifelong friend. A brilliant linguist and musician, it was music that took Trend to Spain in 1919 to unearth ancient manuscripts and to write articles for London magazines. He fell in love with a country undergoing a cultural, intellectual and political transformation that culminated in the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931. He became a close friend of Manuel de Falla, whose music he introduced to the British public, as well as of the ill-fated poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, and other luminaries of the optimistic 1920s.
After the euphoria of the Republic and the subsequent Civil War, he never returned to Spain but did much to help Spanish exiles and refugees. Academically he extended his interests to Central and South America, one of the first Hispanists to do so. Trend's books on Spanish literature and music were vivid and evocative, as was his style of teaching, inspired by the philosophy of the Spanish educationalist, Francisco Giner de los Rios. Drawing on Trend's prolific and hitherto unknown correspondence with many celebrated figures, the book depicts his extraordinary personality and achievements, and his first-hand involvement in important events of the period.
After graduating at Cambridge as a student of Professor Trend, Margaret Joan Anstee has had an adventurous life working for the United Nations all over the world. A pioneer in an exclusively male world she became the first woman Under Secretary General and the first woman to head a military peacekeeping mission.