Well, it’s been one week under the Trump administration, and already we are living in a land of “alternative facts.” After Kellyanne Conway used the term to defend Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s falsehoods regarding the inauguration crowd size on Sunday, the American people were, understandably, reminded of George Orwell’s 1984, and sales of the book skyrocketed to #1 on the bestseller list by Tuesday night....more
Posts Tagged: george orwell
At the Guardian, Tim Cooke investigates why writers’ experiences with homelessness and destitution fascinates readers:
So what is the attraction of being down and out? For some, the prospect of real, hard-hitting subject matter has proved irresistible, while for others the route to the streets has been paved with anguish.
At The Millions, Jonathan Gottschall compares his experience learning to cage fight with the struggles of being a writer, as “the writing game, like the fighting game, mostly ends in breakage”:
Literary history is a history of victors. So stories about the struggles of well-known writers almost always follow the comforting arc of suffering redeemed.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Stephen Rohde gives a thorough and chilling analyzation of our current socio-political climate which highlights just how closely our world parallels the one that George Orwell predicted in his novel 1984:
No one aware of post-9/11 society in the United States, England, Europe, and elsewhere can fail to see how chillingly Orwell (and Madison) imagined the consequences of permanent war in instilling fear, inflaming patriotism, creating an obedient citizenry, and establishing a pervasive surveillance state.
Writing for Aeon, Elijah Millgram uses 1984 and George Orwell’s Newspeak/doublethink idea of language to examine why imperfect language, and expression that is sometimes inexact, contradictory, or misleading, can be better for developing the scope of human reasoning....more
Over on Kill Your Darlings, Angela Meyer writes a lovely reflective essay on her time spent in Barnhill, where George Orwell stayed while he wrote 1984. She explores Orwell through the mess that might be 1984, the perfection of his essays, and the importance of a book he renounced, A Clergyman’s Daughter....more
Brain Pickings dives into the young love lives of George Orwell, then known as Eric Blair, and Jacintha Buddicom. Jacintha was famously the model for Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the interactions between Orwell and Buddicom as they age may be just as heartbreaking, ending with a bittersweet reunion just before Orwell’s death....more
Save this as a bookmark. You writer nerds are going to need it.
Assange on Orwell and, of course, the Internet.
Why the Internet is a portal to our own darkness.
Working for academia v....more
In his new book The Sense of Style, brain scientist Steven Pinker calls for a relaxation of English grammar rules. While the Daily Beast’s review praises Pinker for rejecting the false dichotomy between prescriptive and descriptive grammar, the New Yorker argues that we need rules to communicate....more
For Melville House, Alex Shephard examines Amazon’s fraught relationship with George Orwell’s publisher Hachette, criticizing the online shopping hub for misappropriating Orwell’s views on paperback publishing:
In context, Orwell not only contradicts Amazon’s argument about paperbacks, he contradicts their entire business model…
The act of creating new words helps make language more precise. George Orwell once proposed a ministry responsible for inventing new words for precisely that reason, explains The Airship Daily. However, the shortcomings of language and the new words created for precision is the reliance on interpretation:
However, coining new words won’t change the fact that these spirits, these significant chunks of human existence, remain trapped inside our skulls, inaccessible fully to anyone but ourselves.
At Salon, Laura Miller rebukes Will Self’s criticism of George Orwell at the BBC, arguing that the British novelist has misinterpreted “Politics and the English Language.” She emphasizes the importance that, in his essay, Orwell discussed political writing and did not suggest his “rules” apply to fiction....more
The Partisan Review, printed from 1934 to 2004, marked 69 years of cultural history in the US, with notable contributors such as Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing, George Orwell, Marge Piercy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roger Shattuck, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Penn Warren....more
Science fiction creates its whimsical magic by imagining new worlds, or sometimes even new universes, for readers to lose themselves in. But what if the best inspiration we can get for writing about the future comes from our past?
A lot of works, especially those of Orwell, aren’t just painting the portrait of a skewed society, they are showing how that society might spring from our own.
George Orwell recounted his experiences with poverty in Down and Out in Paris and London, and Paul Auster his in Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure.
Rumpus contributor Kaya Genç writes about his own brush with running out of money, and how authors like Orwell and Auster informed his feelings about it, in an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books:
There is pleasure in imagining yourself sleeping among bugs, working 16 hours a day, spending days without eating a piece of bread, not affording a metro ride, and then becoming a writer.
In 1946, George Orwell wrote an essay called “Books vs. Cigarettes,” trying to figure out which habit cost him more and whether books were simply out of some people’s financial reach.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kaya Genç updates the calculations in an essay titled “Ebooks vs....more
When a book is read, the story is transferred from the writer to the reader. Occasionally, however, the reader is allowed a glimpse into what the author may have been thinking through letters or interviews.
When George Orwell wrote Animal Farm, it was primarily meant to be “a satire on the Russian Revolution.” But there was a little more to it than just that....more