Harold Bloom and George Orwell
Author of Animal Farm and 1984
From the little book Bloom's Notes to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four:
[Below] from the book The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War, by David Lebedoff. Page 122:
...this is not said to beat up on Nineteen EightyFour, but to point out that we do not go on reading the book because Orwell possessed a large talent for prose fiction. He did not; he was a moral and political essayist who had the instincts of a pamphleteer. A great pamphleteer, like Jonathan Swift, is a master of irony and satire. Here again, Orwell plainly is deficient. His literalness defeats his wit, such as it is, and his only ironic gift is as a good parodist of political slogans.
And yet Nineteen Eighty-Four survives and will have life whenever we are threatened with totalitarian utopias, whether political, economic, social, or theocratic. "Political correctness," our now-passing rage of liberal conformity, is very much an Orwellian phenomenon, and our universities, wretched parodies of what they are supposed to be, are veritable monuments of newspeak and doublethink.
Although the gentlest of men, Orwell could not write an essay without making some people angry. He infuriated the Labour Party by noting calmly that the standard of living enjoyed by union members in Britain depended upon the sweat of Indian coolies. British pacifists were angered almost to the point of combat when he wrote that their nonviolence was made possible by the protection of the British navy. He shocked everyone by asking why nineteen-year-old soldier should be thought more expendable than old people. He even defended snobbishness, because it "is a check upon behaviour whose value from a social point of view has been underrated.
Goerge Orwell (aka Eric Blair) June 25, 1903 - January 21, 1950
Evelyn Waugh - October 28, 1903 - April 10, 1966
Harold Bloom - Born July 11, 1930 -
Original page Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Updated March 2013