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A Collection of Essays [PDF / EPUB] A Collection of Essays This outstanding collection brings together Orwell’s longer major essays and a fine selection of shorter pieces that includes My Country Right or Left Decline of the English Murder Shooting an Eleph This outstanding collection brings together Orwell’s longer major essays and a fine selection of shorter pieces that includes My Country Right or Left Decline of the English Murder Shooting an Elephant and A HangingWith great originality and wit Orwell unfolds his views on subjects ranging from the moral enormity of Jonathan Swift’s strange genius and a revaluation of Charles Dickens to the nature of Socialism a comic yet profound discussion of naughty sea side picture postcards and a spirited defence of English cooking Displaying an almost unrivalled mastery of English plain prose style Orwell’s essays A Collection ePUB Ñ challenge move and entertainContentsWhy I WriteThe SpikeA HangingShooting an Elephantbookshop MemoriesMarrakechCharles DickensBoys' WeekliesInside the WhaleMy Country Right or LeftThe Lion and the UnicornWells Hitler and the World StateThe Art of Donald McGillRudyard KiplingLooking Back on the Spanish WarWB YeatsPoetry and the MicrophoneBenefit of Clergy; Some Notes on Salvador DaliRaffles and Miss BlandishArthur KoestlerAntisemitism in BritainIn Defence of PG WodehouseNotes on NationalismGood Bad booksThe Sporting SpiritNonsense PoetryThe Prevention of Literaturebooks v CigarettesDecline of the English MurderPolitics and the English LanguageSome Thoughts on the Common ToadA Good Word for the Vicar of BrayConfessions of a Book ReviewerPolitics vs Literature An Examination of Gulliver's TravelsHow the Poor DieRiding Down from BangorLear Tolstoy and the FoolSuch Such Were the JoysWriters and LeviathanReflections on Gandhi.


10 thoughts on “A Collection of Essays

  1. says:

    Update this just like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates you never know what you're going to get next As the dark war torn year of 1940 begins what does Orwell begin the year with? Why a 50 page dissection of the work of Charles Dickens and expressed with such breathtaking authority too in spite of his generosity of mind he is not free from the special prejudices of the shabby genteel It is usual to claim him as a popular writer a champion of the oppressed masses but there are two things that condition his attitude In the first place he is a south of England man a Cockney at that and therefore out of touch with the bulk of the real oppressed masses the industrial and agricultural labourers It is interesting to see how Chesterton another Cockney always presents Dickens as a spokesman of the poor without showing much awareness of who the poor really are To Chesterton the poor means small shopkeepers and servants The other point is that Dickens's early experiences have given him a horror of proletarian roughnessI never read Orwell Ok Animal Farm back in school That’s all And he must be one of the most banged on about authors in the history of the written word So it really became incumbent upon one to give him a go I wasn’t looking forward that much Wasn’t he just going to be spouting the received centre left opinion of his day and waxing on about Spain and The Beano and Greta Garbo and the lost ha’penny sherbet dib dabs of 1938?Anyway I browbeat myself into giving him a go so I got this big beast the almost complete non fiction 1369 pages The complete edition includes all known laundry and shopping listsWell I was wrong Now I get it And now I’m a fan He’s so easy to read and so interesting He becomes your very slightly know it all friend It will take me a couple of years to chew through this substantial volume but it’s so full of stuff right from the first page that I thought it deserved to be reviewed section by section starting with the first which is catchily named “1928 37”The first of several surprising ideas was in essay number one – that in 1928 there were such things as almost free newspapers They cost a farthing then which was a uarter of a penny The loss they incurred was made up entirely by advertising So the same economic model as the online versions of every newspaper now except those behind a paywall And of course there are many actual free actual newspapers around Well I thought this was a recent ish phenomenon just a little bit older than the internet itself How wrong I wasNumber two – holy crap In an essay called “Clink” August 1932 he’s using the f AND the c words to demonstrate the kind of language used by the common criminals of England Was this essay ever published? Surely not But it’s a good one so I’m confusedNumber three – “Bookshop Memories” – ha remember that popular thing Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops? This is the 1936 version People were saying pretty much the same things then In those days some bookshops also ran lending libraries and here Orwell turns his spotlight on another interesting uestion In a lending library you see people’s real tastes not their pretended ones and the one thing that strikes you is how completely the “classical” English novelists have dropped out of favour It is simply useless to put Dickens Thackeray Jane Austen Trollope etc into the ordinary lending library; nobody takes them out Yet it is always fairly easy to sell DickensI would say the same thing now of course – no one reads anything from say before 1950 oh EXCEPT Jane Austen Number four – in a review of a forgotten prison memoir called Walls Have Mouths Orwell reveals the ubiuity of homosexual activity up to and including male rape in a paragraph which must have stunned his readers – we were still getting used to this kind of reality in the work of James Gilligan and in movies like American History X But hear Orwell In a convict prison homosexuality is so general that even the jailors are infected by it and there are actual cases of jailors and convicts competing for the favours of the same nancy boyWell we may dislike the homophobic terms Orwell uses but still again I was amazed at this subject being given any attention in public in 1936Number five – reading one of his acknowledged hits “Shooting an Elephant” and finding out that it was Orwell who shot the elephant “I did not want to shoot the elephant” This was when he was a colonial police officer in Burma He had a cheuered career Onward to part two


  2. says:

    Numerous inadeuate volumes of Orwell’s superlative essays are available from legit presses and bootleggers bundled together under thematic pretences or skinnied down to the longer ‘essential’ writings This monolithic hardback includes the famous and forever pleasurable classics ‘Shooting an Elephant’ best thing written on Burma ever ‘Charles Dickens’ best criticism of Dickens ever ‘Bookshop Memories’ best thing written on bookshops ever and so on Included here are the ‘As I Please’ columns all 80 presenting the relaxed and conversational side of George along with the magnificent book reviews George’s fondness for Henry Miller and Joyce on show The longer essays include to name some ‘Such Such Were the Joys’ perhaps the finest encapsulation of Orwell’s politics and outlook ‘Books v Cigarettes’ the greatest guilt trip about not buying books ever ‘Politics and the English Language’ the finest handbook for journalists ever And so on No bookshelf is complete without a volume of these essays Preferably this one


  3. says:

    You would think that essays about politics and culture written in the 1940s might feel dated But Orwell brings a clear immediacy to his writing A few of these essays are brilliant All are relevant


  4. says:

    The best collection of essays that I’ve read so far14 well written essays by Eric Arthur Blair 1903 1950 also known as George Orwell It covers a wide range of topics from his childhood Spanish Civil War Mahatma Gandhi Charles Dickens Rudyard Kipling Jewish religion politics etc to his shooting of an elephant while serving as a police in Burma Perfectly written in his trademark direct clear and taut writing the style that I first encountered in his political satirical sci fi 1984 and political fable Animal FarmThe only difference is that these are non fiction The essays made me understand what kind of a man George Orwell was a lover of euality justice and free will Such Such Were the Joys 5 stars Amazing A very moving memoir of Orwell’s stay at Crossgates a school for the rich students in England He only afforded to go to that school because he was a bright boy The school kept him because he had a good chance of passing entrance exams in the prestigious universities later and that would help maintaining the image of the school The one part that I found so sad was that the little George did not have a cake year after year during his stay at that school because his parents could not afford it and this was just one of the ways for a poor but bright pupil could be discriminated This boyhood memoir is better than Roald Dahl’s Boy A Story of Childhood as this is inspiring and meatier Charles Dickens 5 stars Amazing David Copperfield and A Tale of the Two Cities are my two novels that I first read when I was in a fresh college graduate in the mid 80s That’s why they will always be among my favorite classic works In this essay Orwell analyzes the works of Dickens in a way that is very easy to understand and will help you appreciate Dickens as a writer Orwell said that Dickens is a moralist he wanted to correct the wrongs that are perpetuated by either those in power or those who were rich in England during his time However there are a couple of his works that do not belong to this so called social propagandist drama and they are A Tale of the Two Cities and Hard Times All the works including David Copperfield Nicholas Nickleby Oliver Twist Martin Chuzzlewit and Our Mutual Friend follow a certain formula and fall into the same morality theme Orwell just made me want to line up next all the other books by Dickens that are in my to be read tbr file The Art of Donald McGill 3 stars I liked itDonald McGill 1875 1962 was a cartoonist whose comic strips were very popular in England during Orwell’s time Prior to this I did not know that Britons would love daily comic strips in a way that I and my friends used to read Baltic and Co on the dailies when we were growing up Orwell examined the comic strips over the years and wrote a detailed analysis of its main theme and McGill’s outlook on marriage sex gender euality and drunkenness He did not say that he was McGill’s fan but he would not be able to write his conclusion of this long running comic strip had he not been a fan Orwell a comic strip’s fan? Rudyard Kipling 4 stars I really liked itOrwell gave his view on T S Eliot’s defense of Kipling being branded as a “Fascist” This label seemed to be triggered by Kipling’s written article regarding a white British soldier beating a “nigger” yes during that time this “n” word was still printable Orwell tends to disagree with Eliot by saying that ”there is a definite strain of sadism in him over and above the brutality which a write of that type has to have Kipling is a jingo imperialist he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting” Juicy rght? Considering that they were both Englishmen and highly esteemed classic novelists However the essay is not all negative about Kipling in Orwell’s point of view He says that Kipling was the only English write of their time who has added phrases to the language and they all became popular like East is East and West is West; The white man’s burden; What do they know of England who only England know?; The female of the species is deadly than the male; Somewhere East of Suez; and Paying the Dane geld Raffles and Miss Blandish 4 stars I really liked itDetailed comparison between a 501 mystery book No Orchids for Miss Blandish 1939 by James Hadley Chase and the book that Orwell said to be the book that inspired it Raffles I have been looking for a copy of this Miss Blandish book What Orwell basically gave the plot of the story about a girl who was raped for a long period of time and she fell in love with her rapist but I did not take it as a spoiler Rather he made me want to order the book via so I can read it right away Well maybe in my next horde Shooting the Elephant 5 stars AmazingVery short yet I guess this is the best essay in the book It talks about Orwell’s stay in Burma as a policeman He hated his job because he feels that the Burmese people do not like English people as they are the colonizers ie oppressors In this particular essay there is a runaway elephant that has killed a native Being a policeman Orwell is asked to kill the elephant I will not tell you the rest as it is too much of a spoiler If you have no time to read the whole book just read this while standing in the bookstore I assure you that it will be worth the time and the pressure on your legs You will get a glimpse – a good glimpse – of what kind of man the young Orwell was that probably drove him to write his books that are said to be anti totalitarianism Politics and the English Language 4 stars I really liked it Orwell criticizing the way school professors expressed themselves in written form He even gave excerpts of these English professors’ formal passages He said that the decline of the English language is brought about by the foolish thoughts of the writers These thoughts were made possible because of the slovenliness of the English language Hence the situation was similar to a man drinking because he feels himself to be a failure and he becomes a complete failure because he drinks He gamely offered these pieces of advice for writersi Never use a metaphor simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in printii Never use a long word where a short one will doiii If it is possible to cut a word out always cut it outiv Never use the foreign phrase a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English euivalentv Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous Reflections of Gandhi 4 stars I really liked itOrwell hailed Gandhi and his non violence but he emphasized that the old man did not do anything without personal ambitions If E M Forster’s Passage to India was about British hypocrisy there were also a hint of hypocrisy in Gandhi’s stance and writings For example when Gandhi was asked what should be done with the Jews in Europe Gandhi allegedly said that German Jews ought to commit collective suicide which “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence” After the war Gandhi justified himself the Jews had been killed anyway and might as well have died significantly Marrakech 3 stars I liked itBefore Hitler rose in power in 1931 Jewish jokes were common in Europe This explained he negative Jewish references that turned me off when I read my first book by Orwell a couple of years back Down and Out in Paris and London Now I know better The Jews have that distinctive look that was also intimated by Howard Jacobson in his Booker award winning book The Finkler uestion that was my first book read this year but they are cunning as they are gutsy in business and fond of money lending with interest Well that was according to Orwell Looking Back on the Spanish War 3 stars I liked itThe resistance of the working class against Franco British France and Russia sided with the urban trade union members while the Nazis Italy and Germany sided with Franco However Orwell uestioned the intent of Russia in the war This should have been an interesting essay but I found that war to have of little impact on me compared to WWII in the Pacific All I know is that American novelists like Hemingway or Cummings volunteered during this period as ambulance drivers This was because there was the Great Depression in the States so job was scarce Inside the Whale5 stars AmazingThis is about the feeling of claustrophobia that must have been similar to what the prophet Jonas felt while inside the whale Orwell used as a springboard Henry Miller and his opus The Tropic of Cancer Orwell praised Miller for his courage of writing something that belong to the 20’s and not in fashion ”When Tropic of Cancer was published the Italians were marching into Abyssinia and Hitler’s concentration camps were already bulging The international foci of the of the world were Rome Moscow and Berlin It did not seem to be a moment at which a novel of outstanding value was likely to be written about American dead beats edging drinks in the Latin uarter France Of course a novelist is not obliged to write directly about contemporary history but a novelist who simply disregards the major public events of the moment is generally either a footler or a plain idiot” Orwell went on explaining why he found this Miller book outstanding”When I first opened Tropic of Cancer and saw that it was full of imprintable words my immediate reaction was a refusal to be impressed Most people’s would be the same I believe Nevertheless after a lapse of time the atmosphere of the book besides innumerable details seemed to linger in my memory in a peculiar way Together with his other book Black Spring these two books “created a world of their own” as the saying goes The books that do this are not necessarily good books they maybe good bad books like Raffles or the Sherlock Holmes stories or perverse and morbid books like Wuthering Heights or The House of the Green Shutters Read him Miller for five pages ten pages and you feel the peculiar relief that comes not so much from understanding as from being understood ” He knows all about me” you feel; “he wrote this especially for me” It is as though you could hear a voice speaking to you a friendly American voice with no humbug in it no moral purpose merely an implicit assumption that we are all alike” England Your England 3 stars I liked itAn essay that he wrote while Nazi airplanes were flying on the British skies dropping bombs Contains his many complaints about Britain’s political system its stand during the war its alliances its expanding middle class etc Boys’ Weeklies 4 stars I really liked itOrwell sold newspaper dailies when he was a young boy and this essay includes his analysis of the dailies during his time I don’t know of any newspapers in Britain so I was not able to relate to this one However I also sold newspapers in the province when I was a young boy Why I Write 5 stars AmazingFrom the tender age of 5 or 6 Orwell already knew that he wanted to become a writer He was the only boy in the family of 4 that includes his mother and two sisters older and younger He was a lonely boy probably because he did grow up with a father and he found comfort in books reading stories and novels and and writing poetry At the age of 16 he read Milton’s Paradise Lost that made him realized that the beauty of the English language He gave the following as motivations the drive writers to write 1 Sheer egoism2 Esthetic enthusiasm3 Historical impulse4 Political purposeOrwell did not say it but I think the last one was what drove him to write 1984 and Animal Farm He wanted “to push the world in a certain direction to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after No book is genuinely free from political bias The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude” p 313Sorry for the long review I was just carried away by this book I did not know that reading essays could be as exciting and enriching as reading works of fiction


  5. says:

    What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art George Orwell is one of the inescapable writers of the last century Far from becoming irrelevant his works seem to become significant with each passing year as most recently evidenced by the present administration’s strained relationship with the truth Orwell himself said that the “final test of any work of art is survival” and his works seem on track to pass this final test His dystopian novel recently became a surprise best seller almost seventy years after its initial publication That is than mere survival And yet it isn’t for his political insights that I opened this collection of essays It was rather—and I feel somewhat silly saying this—for his writing style Orwell’s writing is for me a model of modern prose His style can accommodate both the abstract and the concrete the homely and the refined the pretentious and the vulgar; his prose can satisfy both the academic and the artist the intellectual and the layperson the Panurge and the parish priest It is unmistakably modern even sleek while obviously informed by the tastes and standards of the past It is fiery angry and political while remaining intimate human and honest Something that repeatedly struck me while reading this collection was an inner conflict in Orwell’s worldview There are two sides of the man sometimes in harmony and sometimes at odds the writer and the activist Orwell the writer is captivated by the rhythms of words the sounds of sentences; he loves ruminating on a strange personality or a memorable story; he is enchanted by the details of daily life Orwell the activist is outraged at injustice and uncompromising in his moral sense; he sees people as a collection of allies and enemies taking part in a grand struggle to bring about a better society or a worse one Orwell himself discusses this tension in his little essay “Why I Write” In a peaceful age he thinks he could have been an entirely aesthetic writer perhaps a poet not paying much attention to politics It was his firsthand experience of imperialism poverty and fascism that activated his political conscience Specifically it was the Spanish Civil War that “tipped the scale” for him “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism” Be that as it may Orwell seems to have repeatedly struggled to reconcile this aim with his humanistic side In his brilliant essay on Dickens for example he spends page after page trying to analyze Dickens as a kind of social philosopher examining Dickens's views on work on the state on education and so on Since Dickens was anything but a philosopher—as Orwell himself admits—this repeatedly leads to frustrating dead ends and fails completely to do justice to Dickens’s work It is only in the last section where Orwell drops this pretense and treats Dickens as a novelist that the essay becomes deeply insightful Indeed it soon becomes clear—it seems clear to me at least—that Orwell likes Dickens for his writing and not his activism however much he may wish to think otherwise Other essays exhibit this same tension In his essay on vulgar postcard art for example he notes how backward is the social worldview expressed in the cards; but he is obviously uite fond of them and even ventures to defend them by likening their humor to Sancho Panza’s His essay on boy’s magazines follows an identical pattern exposing their conservative ideology while betraying a keen interest in even a warm fondness for the stories In his appreciative essay on Rudyard Kipling’s poems he even goes so far as to defend Kipling’s political views at least from accusations of fascism It is largely due to Orwell’s influence I think that nowadays it is uncontroversial to see the political implications in a movie cast or a Halloween costume In all of these essays Orwell worked to undermine the naïve distinction between politics and everyday life showing how we absorb messages about standards values and ideologies from every direction He did not merely state that “All art is propaganda” but he tried to show it both in his analyses and his own fiction At least half the time he is utterly convincing in this And indeed Orwell was such a brilliant man that even when I think he’s involved in a pointless exercise he makes so many penetrating observations along the way— incidentally parenthetically—that his writing fully absorbs me We owe a tremendous debt to Orwell for this insight Nevertheless I can’t help thinking that there is something terribly limiting about this perspective All art may be propaganda but it is not only propaganda; it is not even primarily so There needs to be room in criticism as in life for the non political We need to be able to enjoy a novelist because of his characters and not his views on the state a poet for his lines rather than his opinions a dirty joke or a trashy magazine just because we want a laugh and a break Orwell would agree with me up to a point I think but would also say that every decision to be “non political” implicitly accepts the status uo and is therefore conservative This may be true; but it is also true that such non political things are necessary to live a full life Where I most disagree with Orwell is his conviction that the media we consume—magazines post cards popular novels television—nefariously and decisively shape our worldview For my part I suspect that people absorb their opinions from their community face to face and then seek out media that corresponds with their pre existing views not the reverse Media may reinforce these views and give them shape and drive but I don’t think it generates them All this is besides the point I admire Orwell for his fierce independence for his sense of outrage and injustice for his facility with words for his attempt to blend art and truth In other words I admire both the writer and the activist and I think his work should be read until judgment day


  6. says:

    This is an enormous doorstop of a book with over 1300 pages of George Orwell’s essays Of course that doesn’t cover everything he wrote but it’s an awful lot While best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four Orwell was probably a better essayist than a novelist This volume contains Orwell’s best and most famous essays printed many places including online like “Such Such Were the Joys” “Shooting an Elephant” and “Politics and the English Language It also includes other thought provoking but harder to find essays like “A Hanging” and “Notes on Nationalism” as well as the excellent and still very relevant preface to the first edition of Animal Farm “The Freedom of the Press”As you would expect there’s plenty here of Orwell’s favorite topics totalitarianism fascism communism and imperialism but also much about the little details of everyday life from how to make the perfect cup of tea to his concept of an ideal pub This collection has all 80 of the “As I Please” columns that Orwell wrote for the Tribune a column that can be political but just as often addresses grammar and word choice attacks clichéd writing and bemoans the lack of technological advancement in activities such as washing dishes Orwell wrote many book reviews as well most of which serve as a format for him to express his opinions than as a discussion of the books themselves Sometimes these are on surprising but intriguing topics such as Orwell's criticism of Tolstoy's criticism of Shakespeare There are also some funny little gems like a rant of a letter Orwell wrote in response to a uestionnaire he was sent about the Spanish Civil War that begins “Will you please stop sending me this bloody rubbish” and escalates from there This book is organized chronologically which makes sense but unfortunately suffers from the lack of an index Still for those who want to go beyond the same 10 15 essays that are printed in most anthologies this edition will provide as many Orwell essays as just about anyone could possibly want to read


  7. says:

    man this book is such a great old friend Orwell is skyrocketing up my list of major 20th century writers with every one of the 255 pages I've thus far read of this 1300 page behemoth The man was amazingly prescient at a deep detailed levelThis was one of the best collections of essays I've ever read probably second only to Freeman Dyson's The Scientist as a Rebel Across 1363 pages of essays from 1928 1949 the vast majority of them coming from 1938 1946 written for a wide gamut of publications Orwell manages to repeat himself only a few times usually clearly relished zingers a fine show of editing as each annoying bit of repetition is found within an essay that simply couldn't have been left out due to other uniue interesting points Having read it I feel far conversant with the politics of the pre war years the Fabian Society inspired English breed of socialism the demise of realpolitik as Fascism's yoke was affixed battled and finally thrown offOrwell is one of the most intelligent aware and just amazingly foresighted authors of the twentieth century and this book will find itself a place near my mattress for some time


  8. says:

    Given the 70 years that have passed since the publication of most of these essays I've weighted my evaluation of this collection toward those essays that still retain some relevanceAnd granted there is some seriously anachronistic stuff here Some real snoozers that are stuck so firmly in time and place that only the most devoted anglophiles or Orwellians would be interested 'The Art of Donald McGill' 'England Your England' 'Boys' Weeklies'But the majority of essays are written with terrific clarity and foresight carried by Orwell's power of observation and knack for capturing insight in pithy memorable sentences Indeed this is probably one the most uotable books I've read in a long while Some examplesyou can only create if you carewhen the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroysThe great enemy of clear language is insincerityNo doubt alcohol tobacco and so forth are things a saint must avoid but sainthood is also a thing human beings must avoidThis command of the sentence is reminiscent of Emerson's best work But unlike Emerson Orwell retains full command of the essay in form and function as well Even the most anachornistic essays in this collection are still focused and rooted in finely observed detail For this alone 'Marrakech' and 'Such Such Were the Joys' are worth readingBut Orwell's sharpest and most relevant commentary can be found in the essays about the nature of political power language and writing 'Shooting an Elephant' 'Politics and the English Language' 'Why I Write' In these he articulates the interplay of language and power the way words can conceal as well as clarify No surprise that he's thought so deeply about what would be at the heart of his masterpieceEven the critical pieces on Dickens and Rudyard Kipling offer insights about those authors that I hadn't considered before 'Charles Dickens' in particular is both savage and enlighteningWorth reading for the political essays alone and if you're an impatient reader pick and choose what interests you from the rest


  9. says:

    A few years ago I read a study about Bette Davis by someone or other I cannot recall the name of the author or of the book but I remember very clearly how at the end I admired the skill of Davis as an actor than I had before reading but admired her as an actual person a good deal less You probably never thought that Bette Davis drama ueen and 'movie siren' would sit comfortably alongside George Orwell in a review and perhaps they don't though I have heard George did a mean Joan Crawford impression but at the end of this series of essays I think I have a similar reaction to him and his craftThe essays and articles span the last 20 years of his life and include the prose for which he is famous such as his account of taking part in the execution of a rebel in Burma and of the shooting of a rogue elephant down through his accounts of sleeping rough or his being hospitalized in a mediocre hospital in France and then on through his clarion calls for the ending of the ineuality and oppression of the state the hypocrisy and obfuscation of varying Governments' 'doublespeak' and then lilting and amusing reflections on the power of a nice cup of tea the draw of the bookshop and the unlikely herald of spring the toadThe articles and essays are fascinating and are emminently uotable but I will restrain myself to a large extent but the most interesting aspect I found was the way you saw the plots and theories that were to dominate Orwell's fiction and extended factual work being brought to birth as it were in these shorter reflections His loathing of hypocrisy his joining of battle against the forces of totalitarianism wherever they are found his intense loathing for the lack of principled thought in so much poltical life his hatred of the mealy mouthed use of words in which meanings and understandings are blurred and warped; all of them weere seen growing and developingHis flashes of humour and sarcastic wit can be found in the most unexpected of places and his honing in on one little detail to make his point is a regular occurrence Speaking at one point of the patriotism present in most people in times of conflict he defends this and points it out as natural but then says of England'It is a family It has its private language and its common memories and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks A family with the wrong members in control'that sentence captures the genius as I see it of Orwell A man fighting always fighting for justice but with a great use of prose to make his pointAt another point whilst criticizing the hypocrisy of the leftist politicians between the wars'It is a strange fact but it is unuestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel ashamed of standing to attention during ' God save the King' than of stealing from a poor box'or again of truth and history'I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonnment of the idea that history could be truthfully writtenthe implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader or some ruling cliue controls not only the future but the past If the Leader says of such and such an event 'it never happened' well it never happened 'He deals with uite apposite uestions for our own day certainly here in Britain; political correctness the freedom of the press cf The Leverson Enuiry as of today still investigating phone hacking and persecution of innocent private lives by the press the misuse of league tables and the like in Schools and cramming just for short term exam success and not for a lifetime of educated and balanced people This is all fascinating and intriguing but the negative aspect of Orwell lurks in the background That he had a hard and difficult life is not to be denied that there was much for him to become embittered about cannot be ignored and recognizing the differences of 1930 and 40's s or outlooks then his pejorative descriptions of 'Jews ' his disgust of homosexuality and his rather dismissive outlook towards women might be understandable even if not welcomed but it is his underlying lack of respect for the 'working class' that is so off puttingHis feelings that they should have a better standard of living and there is no doubting his sincerity concerning the need for a radical overhaul and redistribution of wealth and opportunity does not seem to extend to his actually liking them He speaks incredibly high handedly of their grossness and ugliness and stupidity of course he recognizes the individual strengths of individual examples but as a group he is wholly unimpressed Maybe this is inevitable as the two sided coin of the chasm between classes in the first half of the 20th Century alongisde Orwell's own miserable persona but it makes for uncomfortable readingOn a lighter side to finish Orwell was intelligent clear thinking insightful and perceptive but he still thought that by the 1970's there would only be about 13 milion people in the UKyeah right Georgie


  10. says:

    Selected essays I thought the essays here on Dickens and Kipling were revelations About ninety percent of the essays cited by other authors that I have read are included here I also particularly liked Inside the Whale a paean to Henry Miller's masterpiece Tropic of Cancer


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