1942 – A Year Well Spent, pt 2 by Desmond Avery


A Firmer Grip on Reality

Summer 1942


The real man?

In May Orwell’s thoughts returned to Dickens, a fellow ‘writer-with-a-purpose’ using the mass medium of his day to entertain and edify the public. Dickens wrote above all to be listened to, and it was that kind of power that Orwell was learning about through direct experimentation now. Reviewing for The Observer a recent study by Edmund Wilson,[1]  he pondered over the contrast between the ‘certain native goodness’ which permeates Dickens’s novels and the assertion of Katey Perugini, his last surviving daughter, that he was ‘“a wicked man – a very wicked man.” It is a strange epitaph for the author of “The Pickwick Papers”.’[2]

Wilson had built on Gladys Storey’s Dickens and Daughter (London: Frederick Muller, 1939) as evidence for what Orwell now saw as ‘a definitely criminal strain’ in Dickens. Orwell’s own essay on him in 1939 had made him a hero with a special set of mainly harmless compulsions and disabilities. Dickens came across there as the fearless upholder of human decency and freedom of thought – exactly the qualities threatened by fascism. At that time Orwell had been dismissive about the author’s mistreatment of his wife: ‘it no more invalidates his work than the second best bed invalidates Hamlet,’ he said.[3] That was nicely put, but now he was confronted by something more awkward.  ‘What is remarkable is not that Dickens should have indulged in a mistress but that he evidently behaved with abominable cruelty towards his wife, and at least very tyrannically towards his children.’[4]

Judging by his own extramarital affairs, at least one of which was in progress at the time,[5] Orwell was not against ‘indulging’, but cruelty and tyranny were another matter. Unable to condone them or to reject Dickens, he called the contrast between his ‘literary emanation’ and his private life ‘baffling’, and left it as a variant of the Jekyll and Hyde enigma. ‘One is forced to believe in a sort of split personality, in which David Copperfield rather than Charles Dickens is the real man,’ he concluded interestingly.[6] Why not the other way round?

Some such split can be seen between George Orwell the adroitly honest and kind-hearted author and Eric Blair the awkward, perhaps sadistic and anyway blundering egoist  or ‘complete pain’[7] suggested by some of those who knew him and his biographers.[8] The name ‘Orwell’ came into existence, like ‘Copperfield’, with its similar connotations of valuable metal, as the fictitious narrator of an imaginative memoir (Down and Out in Paris and London). It was a pen-name he chose at random to conceal the author’s identity, so as not to upset his parents or jeopardize his teaching job. Now, if it was necessary to choose between the invented character and the flesh-and-blood person, not everyone would agree that the real McCoy must be the intangible but more likeable one. Dostoevsky was troubled by the same kind of anomaly in himself, and took the opportunity to ask Dickens about it when he visited him in London in 1862.  This is how he recorded their discussion:

The person he [the writer] sees most of, most often, actually every day, is himself. When it comes to a question of why a man does something else, it’s the author’s own actions which make him understand, or fail to understand, the sources of human action. Dickens told me the same thing when I met him at the office of his magazine … his attacks of helpless enmity towards those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to love, being used up in what he wrote. There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life. Only two people? I asked.[9]

Whether Dickens really explained it like that or Dostoevsky was drawing more on his own experience, his account is revealing both of their plight as authors and of human nature itself. Then, just when a little clarity seems to be almost at hand, that last question – only two? – fragments it again, reminding us of the dazzling throng of misfired saints and heroes both writers conjured up. 

Orwell, in a later essay, on Salvador Dali, was able to put the difficulty more succinctly than before, partly because his bias was in the other direction:  ‘One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dali is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being. The one does not invalidate the other or, in a sense, affect the other.’[10] But a draughtsman is not necessarily an artist, and in the case of a word-artist the idea of a disgusting character producing admirable work can be especially difficult to hold in one’s head. What about Ezra Pound? And Céline? It was hard for Orwell in the case of Kipling ‘with his jingoism and brutality,’ for instance, so he settled for the notion of a ‘good bad poet’ but with emphasis on the ‘bad’. For Dickens he retains the emphasis on ‘good’, but his regard has got to be a little more beady-eyed.

The present situation called for someone who was not only worthy of respect but alive, and in a position to do something. For a little while Stafford Cripps seemed eligible for that role, and Orwell went to see him the following week.  ‘I saw Cripps on Wednesday, the first time I had actually spoken to him. Rather well impressed. He was more approachable and easy-going than I expected, and quite ready to answer questions. Though aged 53 some of his movements are almost boyish. On the other hand he has a decidedly red nose.’[11]

Orwell’s interest in him was work-related as much as personal. During the same week in mid-May he was lining up speakers for his latest idea for putting the present situation in perspective: a series of talks on the future of India, entitled ‘A.D. 2000’ – not bad for 1942. He chose the following subjects: ‘400 Millions: the Indian Population Problem’, ‘Future of Indian Agriculture’, ‘India in the Steel Age’, ‘Future of Education in India’. ‘Industrialisation in India’, and ‘East or West: India’s Cultural Future’.[12]  Thinking about the future to get out of the clutches of immediate worries was perhaps the greatest idea he had taken from H. G. Wells and one that he would take up again after the war, with stunning effect. With access to whoever might know best about such matters (then as now, most people welcomed the chance to air their expertise), he could make use of their brains and perhaps measure his own against them while he was at it.

In addition, people in high positions generate a kind of social electricity which is interesting in itself. Cripps as a political celebrity had that aura for the moment, and Orwell took the trouble to note its effect on him: 

As I waited trying to talk to his secretary, a phrase I always remember on these occasions came into my mind – “shivering in ante-rooms”. In eighteenth-century biographies you always read about people waiting on their patrons and “shivering in anterooms”. It is one of those ready-made phrases like “leave no stone unturned”, and yet how true it is as soon as you get anywhere near politics, or even the more expensive kind of journalism.[13]

For all his distrust of authority, he had the usual physiological response to a representative of it, like that of the other animals to the top pigs in Animal Farm.[14] Not all Labour leaders had the same effect on him though, or if they did he chose to react against it in his diary: a few days later he noted, ‘Attlee reminds me of nothing so much as a recently dead fish, before it has had time to stiffen.’[15]

Cripps’s image as a good alternative to Churchill was short-lived, as he possessed neither the conviction to mount a challenge nor the opportunity to effect any significant change of policy. Any potential he may have had as a kindred spirit for Orwell also quickly faded. Two weeks after first meeting him, he spent an evening chatting with Cripps and ‘some literary people’ (William Empson, Jack Common, David Owen, Norman Cameron and Guy Burgess)[16] and soon found himself baffled again, and disappointed.

Cripps said several things that amazed and slightly horrified me. One was that many people whose opinion was worth considering believed that the war would be over by October – i.e. that Germany would be flat out by that time. When I said that I should look on that as a disaster pure and simple (because if the war were won as easily as that there would have been no real upheaval here and the American millionaires would still be in situ) he appeared not to understand.[17]

One can sympathize with Cripps for not understanding. The view of the war as primarily an opportunity to redistribute wealth was not universally held, although it was common: J. B. Priestley argued for it in Picture Post that June, calling the war ‘our great chance to fashion a really healthy society.’[18] Orwell found Cripps’s incomprehension symptomatic of ‘the official mind, which sees everything as a problem in administration’ and does not realize that ‘most of those who have power don’t care a damn about the world as a whole and are only intent on feathering their own nests.’[19]

In addition to seeing that as the generic problem, Orwell suspected there was a personal one as well: 

I can’t help feeling a strong impression that Cripps has already been got at. Not with money or anything of that kind of course, nor even by flattery and the sense of power, which in all probability he genuinely doesn’t care about: but simply by responsibility, which automatically makes a man timid. Besides, as soon as you are in power your perspectives are foreshortened. Perhaps a bird’s eye view is as distorted as a worm’s eye view.[20]  

In reality Cripps was probably looking got at because he was being prevented from doing much. But the idea that responsibility makes a man timid is striking, and may have been suggested to Orwell by his own experience of it in his war job. He could have taken its perceived effects on Cripps as a warning.

Real events

First-hand experience was making it clearer than ever to Orwell that the workings of political institutions, including the BBC, could not offer him much hope. Unlike Churchill, he was unaffected by the sense of significance parliamentary procedures could offer, and had experienced them as ‘dreary rubbish’ when he went to the House of Commons to listen to the debate on India. ‘This is the twilight of parliamentary democracy,’ he told his diary on that occasion, ‘and these people are simply ghosts gibbering in some corner while the real events happen elsewhere.’[21]

He wrote about one such event in his diary on 11 June, just four days later:

The Germans announce over the wireless that as the inhabitants of a Czech village called Ladice [sic for Lidice] (about 1200 inhabitants) were guilty of harbouring the assassins of Heydrich they have shot all the males in the village, sent all the women to concentration camps, sent all the children to be ‘re-educated’, razed the whole village to the ground and changed its name.[22]

In the diary the event led to a reflection on how atrocities are ‘believed in or disbelieved in according to political predilection, with utter non-interest in the facts and with complete willingness to alter one’s beliefs as soon as the political scene alters.’[23] On the radio two days later he referred to the same event in some of the same words, introducing it as ‘a comparatively small item of news, which is nevertheless worth reporting because it shows more clearly than whole books could do, what Fascism means.’  What makes it usable is the fact that it cannot be dismissed as an Allied propaganda invention to vilify the Germans since they themselves had broadcast it. Orwell makes this point vehemently:

But more significant than the act, is the impudence with which it is broadcast to the world, almost as though it was something to be proud of. And most significant of all is the fact that more than three years after their seizure of Czechoslovakia, the Germans are compelled to commit these barbarities in order to hold down a people whom they pretend to be benefitting by their wise and disinterested rule.[24]

At this point he gives the impression of being able to think his thoughts through to a sense of truth more vigorously for broadcasting than in his diary or elsewhere. His sense of the significance of the event was also accurate. Heyder was perhaps the strongest and most able of Hitler’s supporters, and the Germans were unwittingly displaying their sense of having suffered a serious setback.

Other real events that summer included the agreement on 20 June between Churchill and Roosevelt to pool American and British resources for building an atomic bomb in America,[25] the fall of Tobruk in Libya on 21 June with 33,000 Allied prisoners taken, a failed assassination attempt by a ‘crackpate’ on Churchill on his way home from America on 25 June,[26] and the compliance of the French authorities with the German ‘final solution’ policy by sending 30,000 Jews to concentration camps on one day alone (16 July).[27] All these events reflect power only to kill people, but the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, now Oxfam, was founded at the end of July 1942, and William Beveridge was doing good work – in obscurity but to be revealed soon – with his interdepartmental inquiry into the coordination of the social services. 

Churchill’s growing record of failure on all three military fronts – North Africa, Europe and the Pacific – led to a vote of censure which was taken in the House of Commons on 2 July. Orwell summed up the outcome sourly: ‘Vote of censure defeated 475-25. The same trick as usual – the debate twisted into a demand for a vote of confidence in Churchill himself, which has to be given, since there is no one to take Churchill’s place. … I don’t know how much longer this comedy can go on, but not much longer.’[28] He was right in a way: the situation would change in the autumn.

At that point in his experience the BBC seemed like little more than a part of the same comedy. On the day of the military disaster in Tobruk, he wrote in his diary not about that but his sense that they were ‘putting sheer rubbish on the air.’ 

The thing that strikes one at the BBC – and it is evidently the same in various of the other departments – is not so much the moral squalor and the ultimate futility of what we are doing, as the feeling of frustration, the impossibility of getting anything done, even any successful piece of scoundrelism. Our policy is so ill-defined, the disorganization is so great, there are so many changes of plan and the fear and hatred of intelligence are so all-pervading, that one cannot plan any kind of wireless campaign whatever.[29]

‘Everyone very defeatist after the Libya business,’[30] he noted a few days later, and, as the diary shows, it affected his own morale too, however doggedly anti-defeatist he made his public comments. Any hope he may have had of helping to change the world by means of the BBC seems pretty well snuffed out – at least for the moment –  and at the end of June he took a two-week fishing holiday. He stayed on a farm in the suggestively named village of Callow End in Worcestershire,[31] which was to furnish some of the names and details for Animal Farm.[32]

The power of English words

The break gave him time to review Mulk Raj Anand’s novel set in India, The Sword and the Sickle. Appearing in the July issue of Horizon, the review focuses on the English language itself, and its power as ‘one weapon which our enemies cannot use against us.’[33] Insofar as the outcome of the war depended on the influence wielded by language, English speakers had a definite advantage. ‘Several other languages are spoken by larger numbers of people, but there is no other that has any claim to be a world-wide lingua franca.[34] As an Indian, Anand had legitimate grievances against the British, but used their language to express them and to promote the alternative to imperialism, which was international socialism, Orwell reasoned. ‘That is why at the beginning of this review I described the English language as a weapon of war. It is a funnel for ideas deadly to the Fascist view of life.’[35] He could equally well have said that on the air, and it reflects a conviction which was as personal as it was public.

By that time Partisan Review had sent Orwell some responses by pacifists to his ‘London Letter’ of January, inviting him to respond to their self-defensive attacks on him. He did this with gusto, wielding the weapon of English with accuracy and force.

If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow “overcome” the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen. … Despotic governments can stand “moral force” till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.’[36]

Having been down and out, having spent five months on the Aragon front, having a fascist bullet hole in his neck, and anyway being older and more experienced than his opponents, Orwell implies, he could claim to know things they did not know. After pointing out that he was against imperialism ‘because I know something about it from the inside’, he defended his BBC work, which he was doing with English and Indian left-wing intellectuals not ‘to “fox the Indian masses” [of which George Woodcock had accused him] but because they know what a Fascist victory would mean to the chances of India’s independence.’ As for his earlier contributions to a pacifist paper, ‘Of course I have written for the Adelphi. Why not? I once wrote an article for a vegetarian paper. Does that make me a vegetarian?’[37]

Finally Alex Comfort’s accusation that he was ‘intellectual-hunting’ provides the occasion for a stirring finale:

I have used a lot of ink and done myself a lot of harm by attacking the successive literary cliques which have infested this country, not because they were intellectuals but precisely because they were not what I mean by true intellectuals. The life of a clique is about five years and I have been writing long enough to see three of them come and two go – the Catholic gang, the Stalinist gang, and the present Pacifist or, as they are sometimes nicknamed, Fascifist gang. My case against all of them is that they write mentally dishonest propaganda and degrade literary criticism to mutual arse-licking… It is just because I do take the function of the intelligentsia seriously that I don’t like the sneers, libels, parrot-phrases and financially profitable back-scratching which flourish in our English literary world, and perhaps in yours too.[38]

His counter-attack was harsher than the provocation but it also has a sense of fresh air and enjoyment about it, like going outdoors for some vigorous exercise after being cooped up for too long in the office. At heart he sympathized with the pacifist ideal and had been anti-war himself until August 1939 when he realized ‘two things, first that I should be simply relieved when the long-dreaded war started, secondly, that I was patriotic at heart, would not sabotage or act against my own side, would support the war, would fight in it if possible.’[39] Not long after their dispute he became friendly with both George Woodcock and Alex Comfort. 

‘I am now making entries in this diary much more seldom than I used to,’ he wrote at the end of July, ‘for the reason that I literally have not any spare time.’[40] In reality the diary has more entries in August than any other month of 1942, and does not stop altogether till 5 November. What felt like less time for it may actually have been less need, now that he was finding ways to get to grips with his main concerns on the air and in print. ‘And yet I am doing nothing that is not futility and have less and less to show for the time I waste … just footling around doing imbecile things.’[41] It is true that he had only written one proper article so far that summer, unless one counts the Partisan Review riposte; but he was to make up for it with a long and thoughtful one at the end of August.

‘Something to show’ would have been a book in progress, but at least the lull provided an opportunity to think about what such a book could be. If literature was a funnel for ideas, what were some examples? In August he started commissioning speakers for a new series he called ‘Books that Changed the World’. These he defined as books which ‘can be said to have actually influenced events directly by their impact on [the big] public.’[42] The ones he chose were The Descent of Man, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Gulliver’s Travels, The Social Contract, War and Peace, Das Kapital, and Mein Kampf.[43]Their effects are debatable of course, but all seven books have in common some sense of revelation, for better or for worse. Once their worldview was presented, it seemed obvious to large numbers of readers. It was for this kind of impact that he was to aim with the next two books of his own.

He continued the series of talks in 1943, this time focusing on what he called ‘Oriental books, particularly religious books.’[44] These were less controversial from the point of view of affecting history: The Koran, The Bible, The Upanishads, The Analects of Confucius, The Bhagavad Gita and The New Testament.[45] His own view of religious faith was that it was obsolete, but its influence on human behaviour was obvious, and he was fond of the Christian tradition.[46] Harold Nicolson in Why Britain is at War had exclaimed: ‘Why should our lovely Christian code of honour surrender to this pagan brutality?’[47] Orwell could not have put it like that but his appeals to ‘decency’ have the same historical and emotional background.   

The BBC was in fact offering him new opportunities for creative thinking, and in August he launched a literary discussion series called ‘Voice’. The first edition involved Herbert Read, William Empson, Inez Holden and Mulk Raj Anand, discussing work by themselves, Dylan Thomas, Henry Treece, and Wordsworth, with Orwell as the presenter. Introducing it as a new kind of literary journal, he made an intriguing case for thinking about literature at such a time.

I suppose every second that we sit here at least one human being will be dying a violent death. It may seem a little dilettante to be starting a magazine concerned primarily with poetry at a moment when, quite literally, the fate of the world is being decided by bombs and bullets. However, our magazine – ‘Voice’ we are calling it – isn’t quite an ordinary magazine. To begin with it doesn’t use up any paper or the labour of any printers or booksellers. All it needs is a little electrical power and half a dozen voices. It doesn’t have to be delivered at your door, and you don’t have to pay for it. It can’t be described as a wasteful form of entertainment. Moreover, there are some of us who feel that it is exactly at times like the present that literature ought not to be forgotten. As a matter of fact, this business of pumping words into the ether, its potentialities and the actual uses it is put to, has its solemn side. According to some authorities wireless waves, or some wireless waves, don’t merely circle our planet, but travel on endlessly through space at the speed of light, in which case what we are saying this afternoon should be audible in the great nebula in Orion nearly a million years hence. If there are intelligent beings there, as there well may be, … it won’t hurt them to pick up a few specimens of twentieth century verse along with the swing music and latest wad of lies from Berlin.[48]

The departure of literature from paper was already under way. It is as hard to say now as it was then whether this is increasing the power of language or reducing it. Orwell was aware that the hypothetical listeners in Orion would be receiving an unlimited amount of ‘tripe’[49] for every limited worthwhile item, but could have argued that the rarity of a good piece of work increases its value. In that case his efforts and ours to produce one or two may yet prove not to have been in vain. Subsequently, T. S. Eliot and other luminaries joined the ‘Voice’ programme, and photographs of these gatherings suggest that if Orwell thought he was wasting his time then, he was at least enjoying it.

On Friday 7 August US troops in the Pacific captured Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands. It was the first major defeat for the Japanese and came to be seen as the beginning of the turning-point in the war. It might have boosted morale but was followed the next day by the passing of the Quit India Resolution by the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee. This led to a campaign of civil disobedience during which Gandhi, Nehru and other popular leaders were locked up by the British authorities, with Churchill’s hearty approval. ‘Terrible feeling of depression among the Indians and everyone sympathetic to India… It is strange, but quite truly the way the British Government is now behaving upsets me more than a military defeat.’[50] Broadcasting pro-British material required an even greater effort of concentration on what he saw as the essentials.

Despite the feeling of having too little time for such things, Orwell wrote one of his most revealing longer pieces during this period, probably at the end of August. ‘On Looking Back on the Spanish War’, was written for Alex Comfort’s journal New Road.[51] In addition to reflecting on the squalor of war which had punctured any illusions he may have had about it, he set out some of the fears he was to explore five years later in Nineteen Eighty-Four : of ‘the very concept of objective truth fading out of the world’;[52] of ‘a nightmare world in which the leader or some ruling clique controls not only the future but the past’;[53] and of the fact that ‘civilizations founded on slavery have lasted for such periods as four thousand years’ and could do so again.[54] Perhaps because it was for a pacifist publication, he felt able to display his humane side here with an anecdote about a Fascist he could not bring himself to shoot. The target was running with one hand holding up his trousers. It meant he was a fellow human being after all.

The defining paradox of his life comes into full view here: on the one hand the horror and terror of war, and on the other the sense that there are some things worth suffering for. He returns to the image he used in Homage to Catalonia of the Italian militiaman who had come to represent for him what the war was about. ‘When I remember – oh how vividly! – his shabby uniform and the fierce, pathetic, innocent face, the complex side-issues of the war seem to fade away and I see clearly that there was at any rate no doubt as to who was in the right.’[55] It was rare for Orwell to write ‘oh’ and use the exclamation mark, and it was quite some time since he had seen himself as a potential a poet,[56] but he ends the essay with a piece of verse. The last two of his nine stanzas are:


                        Your name and your deeds were forgotten

                        Before your bones were dry,

                        And the lie that slew you is buried

                        Under a deeper lie;


                        But the thing that I saw in your face

                        No power can disinherit:

                        No bomb that ever burst

                        Shatters the crystal spirit.[57]


It suggests a stubborn hope for life and for a voice which can express it. Whether it is bad poetry or good bad, it does succeed in conveying that much.

These themes, together with the sense of truth-telling power that brought them to life in the essay, had to wait till later to be fully explored. In the meantime, it would be hard to think of a better way to prepare for writing a book about them than by following the global power struggle, summarizing its progress week by week, and presenting as much of the best of English literature as possible for a foreign audience. 

Desmond Avery 

Part One of 1942 – A Year Well Spent here.

[1] Edmund Wilson, ‘Dickens: the Two Scrooges’, in The Wound and the Bow. New York: Oxford University Press, 1941; republished by Ohio University Press, 1997, pp 3-85.

[2] Review of The Wound and the Bow by Edmund Wilson, The Observer, 10 May 1942. Works XIII, 315.

[3] George Orwell, ‘Charles Dickens’. In Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965; p. 81.

[4] Works XIII, p. 314-5

[5] With Inez Holden. See Crick, pp. 423-424, for example, and Bowker, p. 284. Other involvements include Hetta Crouse (later Empson), Stevie Smith, and ‘a secretary’.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Expression used in an email from D. J. Taylor to correct my pro-Orwell bias in his dealings with Victor Gollancz.

[8] See also ‘The case against’ in Taylor, 350-52, and the disparaging memories of his flat-mates Rayner Heppenstall and Michael Sayers (Bowker, 176-7).

[9] Quoted by Claire Tomalin in Charles Dickens – A Life. London: Viking, 2011, p. 322.

[10] ‘Benefit of Clergy’ (1944), in Decline.

[11] Entry on 15 May 1942, Diaries, p. 338.

[12] Works XIII, p. 534.

[13] Entry for 15 May 1942, Diaries, p. 338-9.

[14] E.g., ‘It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him, as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr. Jones. Animal Farm, London: Penguin, 1989, p. 36.

[15] Entry for 19 May 1942, Diaries, p. 339.

[16] Entry for 7 June 1942, Diaries, pp. 343-4.

[17] Ibid.

[18] J. B. Priestly, ‘Britain’s Silent Revolution’. Picture Post, 27 June 1942. Quoted in Orwell – a Life in Letters. London: Harvill Secker, 2010, p. 199.

[19] Entry for 7 June 1942, Diaries, p. 344.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Entry for 29 April 1942, Diaries, p. 336.

[22] Entry for 11 June, ibid., p. 345. Reinhard Heydrich had chaired the Wannsee conference which on 20 January 1942 adopted the ‘final solution’ policy and been the leading proponent of its implementation. The association of his assassins with the village of Lidice turned out to be false.

[23] Ibid., 356.

[24] Weekly News Review 26, 13 June 1942; Works XIII, p. 360.

[25] Winston Churchill, The Hinge of Fate (1951). London: Penguin, 2005, p. 341.

[26] Ibid., 350.

[27] The Hutchinson Chronology of World History. Oxford: Helicon, 1998, p. 335.

[28] Entry for 3 July, Diaries, pp. 350-351.

[29] 21 June, ibid., p. 348.

[30] 26 June, ibid., p. 350.

[31] Ibid. (n. 60)

[32] Bowker, p. 294.

[33] Works XIII, p. 379.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid., p. 181.

[36] Ibid., p. 397.

[37] Ibid., p. 398.

[38] Ibid., p. 399.

[39] ‘My Country Right or Left’, Essays 1, 590-591.

[40] Entry on 23 July 1942, Diaries, p. 354.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Works XIII, p. 451.

[43] Works XIV, p. 368.

[44] Letter to Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, Works XV, p. 21.

[45] Works XV, 373. Melvin Bragg of the BBC continued this approach with a book called 12 Books that Changed the World (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2006), without attributing the idea to Orwell. His twelve, reflecting the comparative complexity of his mind, were: Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Married Love by Marie Stopes, the Magna Carta, The Rule Book of Association Football, On the Origin of Species by Darwin, On the Abolition of the Slave Trade by William Wilberforce, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, Experimental Researches in Electricity by Michael Faraday, Patent Specification for Arkwright’s Spinning Machine by Richard Arkwirght, The King James Bible, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, and The First Folio of Shakespeare.

[46] See, for example, Peter Davison’s ‘Orwell: Religious and Ethical Values’, The Orwell Essay, Finlay Publisher, March to May 2008. Accessed at www.finaly-publisher.com on 5 July 2011.

[47] Harold Nicolson, Why Britain in at War. London: Penguin, 1939 and 2010, p. 135.

[48] “Voice” for Tuesday 11 August 1942. Works XIII, p. 459.

[49] ‘Poetry and the Microphone’, Essays 2, p. 380.

[50] Entry for 10 August 1942, Diaries, p. 359.

[51] Works XIII, pp. 497-511.

[52] Ibid., p. 504.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid., p. 505.

[55] Ibid.

[56] See D. J. Taylor, ‘Orwell’s Poetry’, The Orwell Essay, Finlay Publisher, December 2008 – January 2009. Accessed at www.finaly-publisher.com on 5 July 2011.

[57] Works XIII, p. 511

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s