Another chance to admire Orwell

May 2, 2010 |

It is difficult to overestimate the impact of Orwell on satire.  Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four are clear,unequivocal and beautifully written clarion calls against totalitarianism.  If one was to read only two authors to gain an appreciation of how to write clear prose those individuals would be Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell.  Their prose is sparse and direct.  Their words dance on the page. Unlike the overblown sludge that is pushed through the processor.  I have additional respect for Orwell because he had great insight and was not afraid to give voice to it.  In Homage to Catalonia he laid bare the hideous duplicity and cynicism of the the Soviets.  He, a proud socialist, didn’t flinch in writing Nineteen Eighty Four or Animal Farm when many socialists wanted to avert their eyes from the brutality of Stalin and the subjugation of the Eastern Bloc.

Christopher Hitchens piece Christopher Hitchens re-reads Animal Farm is a delightful, affecting and clear piece on Animal Farm, its context and impact.  Hitchens is an Orwell aficionado and a clear fan.  He has written books about Orwell, Why Orwell matters, and is proudly contrarian.  In the main I am with him as he skewers the pompous and the proud and attacks current orthodoxies which are more about self interest and ideology than logic and reason.  His ferocious atheism is where he loses balance and begins to behave with the self righteousness of those he usually attacks.  But one can forgive him this flaw and the occasional really silly photo piece in Vanity Fair.

Read Animal Farm.  Then read it again.  Once a year at least.

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