George Orwell: The Critical Heritage

By Jeffrey Meyers | Go to book overview
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Graham Greene, Evening Standard

10 August 1945, p. 6

Graham Greene (b. 1904), English novelist, author of Brighton Rock (1938), The Power and the Glory (1940) and The Heart of the Matter (1948).

Whatever you may say about writers—their private lives, their feeding habits or their taste in shirts—you have to admit, I think, that there has never been such a thing as a literature of appeasement.

Writers may pass, like everyone else, through the opium dream of Munich and Yalta, but no literature comes out of that dream.

For literature is concerned above everything else with the accurate expression of a personal vision, while appeasement is a matter of compromise.

Nevertheless, in wartime there has to be a measure of appeasement, and it is as well for the writer to keep quiet. He must not give way to despondency or dismay, he must not offend a valuable ally, he must not even make fun…

It is a welcome sign of peace that Mr George Orwell is able to publish his ‘fairy story’ Animal Farm, a satire upon the totalitarian state and one state in particular. I have heard a rumour that the manuscript was at one time submitted to the Ministry of Information, that huge cenotaph of appeasement, and an official there took a poor view of it. ‘Couldn’t you make them some other animal, he is reported as saying in reference to the dictator and his colleagues, ‘and not pigs?’

For this is the story of a political experiment on a farm where the animals, under the advice of a patriarchal porker, get organised and eventually drive out Mr Jones, the human owner.


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George Orwell: The Critical Heritage
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