Rorscach test

Orwell the Rorschach Test

June 24, 2011

TOMORROW MARKS THE 108TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF GEORGE ORWELL, WHO WAS BORN IN INDIA, THEN UNDER THE BRITISH RAJ. While unquestionably his literary output places him within the ranks of the most well-received writers of all time, his politics has always had people guessing, often not happy with the established view that he was of the Left.

Even the MI5, who had been monitoring him for two decades, admitted they were unsure of how to pin his views. A special branch report had noted Orwell advancing what they called “communist views” around some of his Indian friends, had wore ‘bohemian dress’, and while not part of the Communist Party orthodoxy, was a “bit of an anarchist”.

The MI5 officer in charge also read Orwell’s literature in order to try and gain a concrete idea of his political persuasion. On reading, among other things, The Lion and the Unicorn, it was his contention that “he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him”.

However the text many highlight, Why I Write, seems to have the answer: “every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism, and for democratic socialism, as I understand it”.

Have Orwell enthusiasts been satisfied with this admission? Quite the contrary. Rather than being the answer everyone wants, it is often only the point of departure when trying to figure out the political Orwell. [READ THE REST]

Other links:

Kevin Keating versus Stephen Schwartz and Stuart Christie. On Rosa Luxemburg’s letters: Timothy Snyder, Andrew Coates, Christopher Hitchens.

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Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm  Comments (5)  

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