Why Orwell Matters

Why Orwell Matters

Book - 2002
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Hitchens on Orwell:This is not a biography, but I sometimes feel as if George Orwell requires extricating from a pile of saccharine tablets and moist hankies; an object of sickly veneration and sentimental overpraise, employed to stultify schoolchildren with his insufferable rightness and purity. This kind of tribute is often of the Rochefoucauldian type; suggestive of the payoff made by vice to virtue, and also of the tricks played by an uneasy conscience.What [Orwell] illustrates, by his commitment to language as the partner of truth, is that "views" do not really count; that it matters not what you think, but how you think, and that politics are relatively unimportant, while principles have a way of enduring, as do the few irreducible individuals who maintain allegiance to them.Others on Hitchens:"I have been asked whether I wish to nominate a successor, an inheritor, a dauphin or delphino. I have decided to name Christopher Hitchens."-Gore Vidal"Christopher Hitchens's writing has sweep and flair. He is accurate where others are merely dutiful, unpredictable where the tendency is to go for the cliché. In short, brilliant."-Edward W. Said"May his targets cower." -Susan Sontag
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2002.
ISBN: 9780465030491
Branch Call Number: 828.91209 O79Zh
Characteristics: xii, 211 p.


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Apr 06, 2017

A great author and intellectual illuminates his predecessor (and the sniping lesser detractors.)
I yearn for modern voices so articulate to take up the banner and shatter the black silence of the corporate/nation states.

May 03, 2015

"I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts."-Orwell, 1946
Not to speak ill of the dead, but I always found the late Christopher Hitchens a bit irritating: arrogant, sardonic without being funny, and not as smart as he thought he was. He seemed to fancy himself an iconoclast and wrote about such strong minded individuals as Thomas Jefferson and Orwell, while bashing organized religion ("God is Not Good") and Mother Teresa. Whatever you think of the later, it's hardly sporting to attack a defenseless old lady who has devoted her life to others. And I do wonder just how iconoclastic you can be when you work for "Vanity Fair," a magazine devoted to flattering the rich, famous, and powerful. All that said, this is a fine, insightful book about one of my favorite writers and Hitchens admirably and convincingly shows Orwell's importance, as well as reclaiming him from both conservatives and liberals. Hitchens point is that almost everybody has an opinion about Orwell and often both the man and his body of work are lost. I'd advise reading the two volumes of Orwell's essays, "Facing Unpleasant Facts" and "All Art is Propaganda," after finishing this book.

Excellent review of some of the machinations during the Spanish Civil war and events during the cold war. Great insights into complex times and misunderstood political views of a man so dedicated to his philosphy that he gives up his wealth and his health because of his principles. A bit heavy going for the amateur historian but worth the trouble in the interest of ministry of truth.

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