George Orwell: The Critical Heritage

By Jeffrey Meyers | Go to book overview

the liberal’s free press and free discussion. They have the same political attitude (anti-Russian leftism) and similar literary interests (Dickens, Kipling, Yeats). They are both at their best in territory where sociology and literature overlap.

Mr Orwell at least—I will not say Mr Wilson—is distinctly shaky in purely political and purely literary criticism—in Animal Farm and in his study of Henry Miller (Inside the Whale). Avoiding these two poles Dickens, Dali and Others is Orwell at his best. Which is saying a great deal. Few people have ever said better things about the culture of the masses. I would specify as little masterpieces the following essays: ‘Boys’ Weeklies, ’ ‘The Art of Donald McGill, ’ and ‘Raffles and Miss Blandish. ’ I hope they stimulate American critics to analyze the comic-strips and the pulps. The brilliance of Mr Orwell’s pioneer effort should put them on their mettle.


72.

Wylie Sypher, Nation

25 May 1946, p. 630

Wylie Sypher (b. 1905), American critic and art historian, Professor of English at Simmons College in Boston, author of Four Stages in Renaissance Style (1955) and Rococo to Cubism in Art and Literature (1960).

George Orwell, a liberal critic with an international background—birth in India, education in England, life in Burma and Paris, fighting in the Spanish war, and service with London newspapers (and Partisan Review) as correspondent—is better introduced to American readers by Dickens, Dali and Others than by his recent labored satire on Stalinism, Animal Farm. The present collection of essays—social interpretations of Dickens, Kipling, Yeats, Dali, Koestler, and subliterary matter such as boys’ weeklies and penny postcards with ‘funny’ illustrations of fat

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