Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind
The Captive Mind, trans. Jane Zielonko (London: Secker & Warburg, 1953), p. 42.
Czeslaw Milosz (b. 1911 in Lithuania), Polish poet, translator of Shakespeare, broadcaster and diplomat; now lives in France. The Captive Mind analyzes the negative impact of Communism on four Polish writers.
A great many of them have read Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. A few have become acquainted with Orwell’s 1984; because it is both difficult to obtain and dangerous to possess, it is known only to certain members of the Inner Party. Orwell fascinates them through his insight into details they know well, and through his use of Swiftian satire. Such a form or writing is forbidden by the New Faith because allegory, by nature manifold in meaning, would trespass beyond the prescriptions of socialist realism and the demands of the censor. Even those who know Orwell only by hearsay are amazed that a writer who never lived in Russia should have so keen a perception into its life. The fact that there are writers in the West who understand the functioning of the unusually constructed machine of which they themselves are a part astounds them and argues against the ‘stupidity’ of the West.