Saturday, February 10, 2007

George Orwell

Obama’s language is not clear. It is loopy and lofty and often lubricious, and is precisely the type that Orwell’s famous edict “Good prose is like a window pane” sought to banish. Fortunately, two new collections of Orwell’s essays, Facing Unpleasant Facts and All Art is Propaganda, edited by George Packer, were released late last year, just in time for Election Day; and on page 270 of the latter volume begins the piece “Politics and the English Language,” as effective an inoculation as exists against Obamaspeak’s hardier strains. --Liam Julian, Orwell’s Instructive Errors, Policy Review, June & July 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)


I now find it impossible to imagine that what Orwell put poor Winston Smith through in Room 101 and the unrecorded dungeons of Oceania was not in some way extrapolated from his own physical ruin. --Michael Weiss, Suffering Orwell, Arma Virumque, May 13, 2009 12:09 PM

Orwell shared with Dickens a hatred of tyranny, and in his essay on the Victorian novelist distinguished two types of revolutionary. There are on the one hand the change-of-heart people, who believe that if you change human nature, all the problems of society will fall away; and, on the other, the social engineers, who believe that once you fix society—make it fairer, more democratic, less divided—then the problems of human nature will fall away. --Julian Barnes, Such, Such Was Eric Blair, The New York Review of Books, March 12, 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Although Waugh despaired about the future, he saw the Catholic Church as an enduring bulwark against chaos. His moral order was backed by divine authority. Orwell too was a passionate believer in objective truth, including moral truth. But unlike Waugh, Orwell did not attribute transcendent power to the truth; indeed, he feared that it might ultimately prove impotent in history. --Jim Holt, Two of a Kind, The New York Times, August 29, 2008, review of The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War, by David Lebedoff

Orwell had fought in the Spanish civil war; his disillusion with that cause is chronicled in “Homage to Catalonia”. Waugh was part of an ill-fated military mission to the cynical, wily Communist partisans in Yugoslavia. His disillusion is told in his masterpiece, the “Sword of Honour” trilogy... . --The Economist, Fighting against the future, August 21, 2008, review of The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War, by David Lebedoff

Animal Farm and Brideshead Revisited, published in the same year of 1945, might seem worlds apart, and yet both are biting parables of disenchantment. --Eric Ormsby, Against the Day, The New York Sun, July 30, 2008, review of The Same Man: George Orwell & Evelyn Waugh in Love and War, by David Lebedoff

Eternal vigilance, by Keith Gessen, New Statesman, May 28, 2009, on essays by George Orwell (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Orwell's masterpiece-far superior to Animal Farm and 1984. No education in the meaning of the 20th century is complete without it. --Arthur Herman, The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century, National Review, May 3, 1999

Orwell's "Catalonia" revisited by Anthony Daniels, The New Criterion, February 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Orwell for Christians, by Paul J. Griffiths, First Things, December 2004

Why George Orwell Was Pro-Life, by Mark Stricherz, Crisis, January 2004

Orwell on writing, by Jeffrey Meyers, The New Criterion, October 2003

Orwell's List, by Timothy Garton Ash, The New York Review of Books, September 25, 2003

Reach-Me-Down Romantic, review by Terry Eagleton of George Orwell by Gordon Bowker, Orwell: The Life by D.J. Taylor, and Orwell: Life and Times by Scott Lucas, London Review of Books, June 19, 2003

Bullied George Orwell 'killed' Eton boy using black magic, by Catherine Milner, The Telegraph, May 18, 2003

Honest, Decent, Wrong: The invention of George Orwell, by Louis Menand, New Yorker, January 27, 2003

The Independent of London, by George Packer, New York Times, September 29, 2002

George Orwell: changing the climate, review by David Pryce-Jones, of Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation, by Jeffrey Meyers, The New Criterion, November 2000

George Orwell and the Cold War: A Reconsideration, by Murray N. Rothbard, from Reflections on America, 1984: An Orwell Symposium, edited by Robert Mulvihill, 1986

Our Future, review by Murray N. Rothbard of 1984, Analysis, September 1949

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