George Orwell: The Critical Heritage

By Jeffrey Meyers | Go to book overview

This trend, in its wider aspects, he regards as not merely futile, but as in general tending ‘to intensify class-prejudice. ’ And it certainly can lead to a senseless confusion of issues.

If you are a bourgeois ‘intellectual’ you too readily imagine that you have somehow become un-bourgeois because you find it easy to laugh at patriotism and the C. of E. and the Old School Tie and Colonel Blimp and all the rest of it. But from the point of view of the proletarian ‘intellectual, ’ who at least by origin is genuinely outside the bourgeois culture, your resemblances to Colonel Blimp may be more important than your differences. Very likely he looks upon you and Colonel Blimp as practically equivalent persons; and in a way he is right….

These are not the most important of Mr Orwell’s arguments in his examination of the class dilemma in political groupings to-day. But they have considerable force, and should be read and pondered both by those who too readily imagine themselves emancipated from the illogical structure of an unsatisfactory society, and by those who, in his words, find themselves challenged in their secret beliefs and ‘driven back to a frightened conservatism. ’ And there are plenty of both.


33.

Robert Hatch, Nation

30 August 1958, pp. 97-8

Robert Hatch, American film critic and literary editor of the Nation.

Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier came out in England in 1937, a few years after he had returned from Burma and just before he went off to Spain. There is no obvious reason for publishing it here twenty years later—when most of its facts and many of its opinions are out of date—and I had supposed that it was another of those exhumations

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