Category Archives: George Orwell

As I Please: Orwellian Insights

The term “Orwellian” typically implies something ominous, especially in the realm of politics, thanks to the British writer’s monitory fantasies 1984 and Animal Farm. But here I use the adjective more loosely, referring to Orwell’s perceptive treatment of a wide … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, George Orwell, Literature, Politics

The Disappointed Futurist

A hundred years ago, the British author H. G. Wells was a prominent social prognosticator. Today his theoretical views are largely neglected. This is the lament of a new biography by Sarah Cole, discussed in the Wall Street Journal. Cole’s … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, George Orwell, H. G. Wells, Literature

The Tragic Sense

In literature or drama the tragic situation is one in which the protagonist suffers some great hardship, occasionally as the result of personal shortcomings, but very often due to circumstances beyond the individual’s control. Tragedy is not possible where nobility … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, George Orwell, Literature, Philosophy, Roger Scruton

Footnotes and Addenda

I was reminded of a line from C. S. Lewis’ memoir Surprised by Joy in which he says: “The surest means of disarming an anger or a lust was to turn your attention from the girl or the insult and … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Stoicism

The Victory Over Memory

While George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, is not exactly a pleasant book, I find it oddly consoling in a way that I never would have when I first read it over thirty years ago. Early in the story the main … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, Politics

More Orwellian Reminiscences

I’m rummaging around in Orwell Remembered, a series of recollections about the famous English novelist. I remarked on the volume a couple of years ago and was tangentially prompted to pick it up again while sampling a friend’s bottle of … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, Literature

Orwell on Socialism and Happiness

“All efforts to describe permanent happiness… have been failures.” That is the opinion of  George Orwell in his perceptive essay “Can Socialists Be Happy?” (Tribune, 1943). He adds that Utopias “seem to be alike in postulating perfection while being unable … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, Philosophy, Politics

Orwellian Paradoxes

Stephen Jay Greenblatt’s Three Modern Satirists (1965) is an obscure but insightful volume that I found while browsing the increasingly depleted shelves of the public library. It examines the careers of English authors Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, George Orwell, Literature, Politics

Orwell Remembered

I recently picked up a copy of Orwell Remembered (1984), edited by Audrey Coppard and Bernard Crick. The first selection is by a former neighbor who made friends with Eric Blair in 1914. Blair (better known by his pen name … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, History, Literature

Big Brother and the Chocolate Rations

The story is not as happy as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However fantastic that confectionery vision may have been, the spread of Newspeak and state-imposed scarcity is no longer a somewhat implausible literary fantasy. I am thinking of … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, Politics