Literary Criticism Of George Orwell Essay Research

Literary Criticism Of George Orwell Essay, Research Paper

* Again, sorry about that spacing, there’s more where this came from, though! *


Eric Blair s Evaluation of Animal Farm (positive)…

Eric Blair wrote much in response to George Orwell s Animal Farm. The

following is a small excerpt which I feel best describes his positive review of the book

in a limited amount of writing… Orwell is significant for his unwavering commitment,

both as an individual and as an artist, to personal freedom and social justice. While

he wrote a variety of works, his novels Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four

(1949) are best known and most widely read. Animal Farm, a deceptively simple

animal fable about a barnyard revolt, satirizes the consequences of the Russian

Revolution, while also suggesting reasons for the universal failure of most

revolutionary ideas. Orwell s skill in creating a narrative that functions on several

levels is almost unanimously applauded, and the novel is generally regarded as a

masterpiece of English prose. Nineteen Eighty-Four attacks totalitarianism, warning

that absolute power in the hands of a Western democracy could result in a repressive

regime. Orwell s ability to perceive the social effects of political theories inspired

Irving Howe to call him the greatest moral force in English letters during the past

several decades.

Frederick R. Karl s Evaluation of Animal Farm (negative)…

The following is an excerpt from Frederick R. Karl s 1972 essay titled, George

Orwell: The White Man s Burden. Orwell does frequently fail us, however, in not

clearly indicating what belongs to literature and what is proper to history. History

demands, among other things, blinding clarity, while literature can be impressionistic,

frenzied, symbolic, romantic. Between the two, as Aristotle remarked in his Poetics,

there is bound to be a clash, for the intention of one differs crucially from that of the

other. Thus, we often feel that Orwell as a topical writer has not integrated the two

elements sufficiently, so that one frequently gains at the expense of the other. There

is no conscious sacrifice on Orwell s part, but there is an evident lack of

imagination, the synthetic process capable of wedding dissimilars. Having accepted

Naturalism as the mode for his type of novel, Orwell forsakes those techniques that

might have projected his political ideas into deeply felt literary experiences. Lacking

Zola s tremendous intensity, he cannot compensate for what he loses through

unadventurous methods.

An Evaluation of Animal Farm from a Potential Publisher of the book (negative)…

After the Animal Farm is over, there is a section (in my copy of the book) titled,

APPENDIX 1 Orwell s Proposed Preface to Animal Farm. In this proposed preface,

Orwell speaks of a publisher who started by accepting the book, but went against

publishing it after consulting someone from the Ministry of Information. Here is an

extract of a letter from the publisher featured within APPENDIX 1. I mentioned the

reaction I had had from an important official in the Ministry of Information with regard

to Animal Farm. I must confess that this expression of opinion has given me

seriously to think…. I can see now that it might be regarded as something which it

was highly ill-advised to publish at the present time. If the fable were addressed

generally to dictators and dictatorships at large then publication would be alright, but

the fable does follow, as I see now, so completely the progress of the Russian Soviet

and their two dictators, that it can apply only to Russia, to the exclusion of the other

dictatorships. Another thing: it would be less offensive if the predominant caste in

the fable were not pigs. I think the choice of pigs as the ruling caste will no doubt

give offence to many people, and particularly to anyone who is a bit touchy, as

undoubtedly the Russians are.


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