Orwell and Marxism: The Political and Cultural Thinking of by Philip Bounds

By Philip Bounds

Even if as a fighter within the Spanish Civil battle, an suggest of patriotic Socialism or a left-wing opponent of the Soviet Union, George Orwell was once the last word outsider in politics-- insecure, scornful of orthodoxies, cussedly independent.

Best recognized this day because the writer of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell additionally wrote seven different full-length books and an enormous variety of essays, articles and reports. A pioneering cultural critic, he addressed more than a few very important concerns together with paintings, literature, “Englishness," mass communique and the threat of totalitarianism. Famously describing his personal history as "lower-upper-middle class," Orwell had a fancy dating with Marxism and all his paintings displays the impression of British communism.

Through shut research of Orwell’s writings in addition to his ancient and literary context, Philip Bounds has produced an immense research of 1 of the enduring writers of the 20 th century. Orwell and Marxism bargains a radical creation to Orwell the highbrow, reviving his popularity as a significant cultural philosopher and documenting his most vital affects, in addition to a resounding portrait of British Marxism and society within the Nineteen Thirties and 40s.

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Additional info for Orwell and Marxism: The Political and Cultural Thinking of George Orwell (International Library of Cultural Studies)

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Orwell’s experiences in Spain affected his political outlook in two ways. In the first place they turned his vague suspicions of the world communist movement into outright hostility. From the moment he arrived back in Britain in July 1937, intent on describing the suppression of the Spanish revolution to a largely indifferent left-wing intelligentsia, one of his main political goals was to expose orthodox communism as a terrible perversion of the socialist ideal – though (as this book seeks to prove) the fact that he embarked on a long-term attack on the communists also obliged him to read their work more carefully than ever before.

Orwell was obviously not suggesting that a taste for larceny and a contempt for public opinion could somehow form the basis of a new society. 8 Yet his account of underclass antinomianism was not without its political significance. As he showed in Nineteen Eighty-Four and in some of his literary essays, especially the marvellous brief essays on Mark Twain and Tobias Smollett (to which we will return in Chapter Three), Orwell tended to regard people who challenge the prevailing morality as a specific against totalitarianism.

The book concludes with a chapter on Orwell’s theory of totalitarianism. Its particular focus is his account of the cultural methods by which the USSR and other totalitarian states enforced their rule. Although the book is primarily concerned with Orwell’s non-fiction rather than his novels, I have also included a brief Appendix which examines his approach to cultural issues in his four novels of the 1930s. 1 THE COMMON PEOPLE George Orwell’s writings on what he sometimes called the ‘common people’ are at the heart of his cultural criticism, since they go a long way towards explaining his reasons for becoming a socialist.

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