The Early Days of a Better Nation

Sunday, June 15, 2003

George Orwell

George Orwell - A Life in Pictures went out on BBC2 last night, and was mostly very good. The idea of presenting Orwell's life and opinions as if he had appeared in documentary films, filmed interviews and home movies was brilliant, and the execution was almost flawless. It says a lot for Orwell's writing that much of it sounded natural as speech.

Why I Write (1946) was presented as an interview. In the essay, Orwell says:

'Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism [and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it].'

This sentence was spoken in the interview, but without the words around which I've put square brackets. A crucial piece of information about Orwell's politics went down the memory hole.


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