Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Orwell on Kipling

David Foster, under my post on Lewis writing about Kipling,  put me on to a link of Orwell writing about him as well. Remarkably good.  I don't know what Orwell thought of Lewis, but Lewis thought enough of Orwell to write that he far preferred Animal Farm to 1984.  He thought the former contained all the ideas of the latter, and more efficiently. He thought 1984, despite its wonderfully original premise (which now seems trite only because of the number of writers who have copied it), to be cluttered with side topics.  I haven't read it since seventh grade, so I can't comment.

One would think that the two would be deeply opposed on a thousand subjects, the socialist and the traditionalist, but they had substantial agreement on many things.  I liked this comment of Orwell's:
All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy.
Simple. Clear.  Accurate even seventy years later.  I will note that someone-or-other listed the most prescient books of the 20th C at the turn of the millennium - it was not National Review's list but that magazine reported it - and put 1984 and The Abolition of Man #1 & #2.


james said...

Maybe Lewis liked the mythic approach better than the realistic?

Christopher B said...

The problem with 1984 being prescient is too many people think it's an instruction manual.

Thos. said...

Good heavens!

No one, in our time, believes in any sanction greater than military power; no one believes that it is possible to overcome force except by greater force. There is no ‘Law’, there is only power. I am not saying that that is a true belief, merely that it is the belief which all modern men do actually hold.

It is downright uncanny how Orwell, writing in 1942, managed to deftly put the pin right in the center of today's political class.