12. Homage to Catalonia: George Orwell

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12. Homage to Catalonia: George Orwell

Post  Patguy on Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:33 pm

“Everyone who had been in Madrid said that it was completely different there. In Madrid the common danger forced people of almost all kinds into some sense of comradeship. A fat man eating quails while children are begging for bread is a disgusting sight, but you are less likely to see it when you are within sound of the guns.”

Orwell’s great nonfiction account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. I love Orwell. Especially compared to Proust, who I’ve also been reading this year, Orwell’s sentences are simple, direct and transparent. Probably because of this, Orwell’s prose seems absolutely honest, and his politics fully admirable. His socialist (almost anarchist) view of the Spanish war is frankly better, morally, than the fascist or Soviet ideologies of the main combatants. Orwell was skeptical of “heroes,” demanding that they be held to an even higher standard than ordinary individuals, but I confess that Orwell is one of my own literary and political heroes.

“I have no particular love for the idealized ‘worker’ as he appears in the bourgeois Communist’s mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask what side I am on.”

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