Posts Tagged ‘George Orwell’

Bat Terrier applauds Open Culture‘s smart list of essential non-fiction. (Click here for the list.)

Have you ever seen Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, undoubtedly one of the best books ever written, on ANY sort of “best of” book list? Me neither.  And certainly not on a list that also contains Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The White Album, Marcus Aurelius‘ Meditations, Walden,  and Hannah Arendt‘s amazing Eichmann in Jerusalem. And that’s just for starters.

What did they miss? Montaigne, maybe Walter Benjamin, depending on your tastes. But all in all, a really smart take on the “best books” list. Kudos.

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Excellent article by Simon Leys on the recently published diaries and letters of George Orwell, edited by Peter Davison. Orwell wrote so well, of course, that he could be anyone’s writing master. Even in his letters and diaries, where he is just dashing things off, he often dazzles:

“…whereas the bourgeois goes through life expecting to get what he wants, within limits, the working-man always feels himself the slave of a more or less mysterious authority…”

“…every life viewed from the inside would be a series of defeats too humiliating and disgraceful to contemplate…”

Ley’s article is well recommended.

George Orwell‘s eleven golden rules for making a proper cup of tea.

And his rules for writing. Seriously and highly recommended. One cannot read these rules often enough.

And, finally, if you want the complete Orwell experience, make yourself a nice cup of tea and then sit down to read his great essay, “Politics and the English Language.”

Mussolini

“the relationship between Fascism and the literary intelligentsia badly needs investigation…”
George Orwell

“If modernism cut exhilarating loose from exhausted national traditions, it did so, after all, as a deracinated, disorientated elite–One corollary of that was a virulently anti-democratic politics.”
Terry Eagleton

Despite Eagleton’s claim, no one can prove  literary Modernism was overwhelmingly Fascist or anti-democratic. The movement was simply too diverse to be easily characterized, and there were many Modernist Leftists.

On the other hand, Orwell’s caution was sound: There were  a disturbing number of Modernist writers who made common cause with Fascism when it counted. Should you be interested in which writers avowed themselves as fascists, see the following list.

Irving Babbitt (literary critic)

Louis-Ferdinand Céline (novelist)

Martin Heidegger (philosopher)

T. E. Hulme (critic)

F. T. Marinetti (poet)

Henry Miller (novelist)

Wyndham Lewis (writer)

Ezra Pound (poet)

Kenneth Roberts (novelist)

George Santayana (philosopher)

William Butler Yeats
(poet)

Stark Young (drama critic, New Republic)