George Orwell: The Critical Heritage

By Jeffrey Meyers | Go to book overview


For that day we all must labour,

Though we die before it break;

Cows and horses, geese and turkeys.

All must toil for freedom’s sake.

Somehow Orwell really believed in this. It was this quaint belief which guided the rebel’s progress, and made him so very lovable though he did not know it.


91.

Bertrand Russell, World Review

June 1950, pp. 5-7

Lord Russell (1872-1970), mathematician, philosopher and Nobel Prize winner; author of Principia Mathematica (1910-13) and An Outline of Philosophy (1927).

George Orwell was equally remarkable as a man and as a writer. His personal life was tragic, partly owing to illness, but still more owing to a love of humanity and an incapacity for comfortable illusion. In our time the kind of man who, in Victorian days, would have been a comfortable Radical, believing in the perfectibility of Man and ordered evolutionary progress, is compelled to face harsher facts than those that afforded our grandfathers golden opportunities for successful polemics. Like every young man of generous sympathies, Orwell was at first in revolt against the social system of his age and nation, and inspired with hope by the Russian Revolution. Admiration of Trotsky, and experience of the treatment meted out toTrotskyistsby Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War, destroyed his hopes of Russia without giving him any other hopes to put in their place. This, combined with illness, led to the utter despair of 1984.

Orwell was not by nature pessimistic or unduly obsessed by politics. He had wide interests, and would have been genial if he had lived at a

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