George Orwell, pen name of Eric Arthur Blair

George
Orwell, pen name of Eric Arthur Blair
1903
1950

English Author and Journalist, known for books "Animal Farm", and "Nineteen Eighty Four"

Author Quotes

The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with East Asia. Oceania had always been at war with East Asia.

The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical necessity.

The words kept coming back to him, statement of a mystical truth and a palpable absurdity.

There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins. Nearly always one side stands more of less for progress, the other side more or less for reaction.

They could analyze and put on paper, in detail, everything that he had done, he had said, and had thought, but the intimacy of the heart, whose workings is largely a mystery even to those who owns it, remained impregnable.

This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs—to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date.

To dislike a writer’s politics is one thing. To dislike him because he forces you to think is another, not necessarily incompatible with the first.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.

The Spanish war and other events in 1936-7 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.

The world sleeps peaceably in their beds while rough men practice violence on their behalf.

There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when 'our' side commits it.

They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening

This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.

To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.

The mute protest in your own bones.

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

The stars are a free show; it don’t cost anything to use your eyes

The young officers who had come back [from WW1], hardened by their terrible experience and disgusted by the attitude of the younger generation to whom this experience meant just nothing, used to lecture us for our softness. Of course they could produce no argument that we were capable of understanding. They could only bark at you that war was ‘a good thing’, it ‘made you tough’, ‘kept you fit’, etc. etc. We merely sniggered at them. Ours was the one-eyed pacifism that is peculiar to sheltered countries with strong navies.

There is no who cares what he says of the poor.

They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life.

Those things don’t really matter. I mean, things like having no money and not having enough to eat. Even when you’re practically starving - it doesn’t change anything inside you. Oh well, it’s beastly while it’s happening, of course; but it doesn’t make any real difference; it’s the things that happen inside you that matter.’

To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one's lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

The point is that you have here a direct, unmistakable assault on sanity and decency; and even - since some of Dali’s pictures would tend to poison the imagination like a pornographic postcard - on life itself. What Dali has done and what he has imagined is debatable, but in his outlook, his character, the bedrock decency of a human being does not exist. He is as anti-social as a flea. Clearly, such people are undesirable, and a society in which they can flourish has something wrong with it. Now, if you showed this book, with its illustrations, to Lord Elton, to Mr. Alfred Noyes, to The Times leader writers who exult over the eclipse of the highbrow - in fact, to any sensible art-hating English person - it is easy to imagine what kind of response you would get. They would flatly refuse to see any merit in Dali whatever. Such people are not only unable to admit that what is morally degraded can be æsthetically right, but their real demand of every artist is that he shall pat them on the back and tell them that thought is unnecessary. And they can be especially dangerous at a time like the present, when the Ministry of Information and the British Council put power into their hands. For their impulse is not only to crush every new talent as it appears, but to castrate the past as well. Witness the renewed highbrow-baiting that is now going on in this country and America, with its outcry not only against Joyce, Proust and Lawrence, but even against T. S. Eliot. But if you talk to the kind of person who can see Dali’s merits, the response that you get is not as a rule very much better. If you say that Dali, though a brilliant draughtsman, is a dirty little scoundrel, you are looked upon as a savage. If you say that you don’t like rotting corpses, and that people who do like rotting corpses are mentally diseased, it is assumed that you lack the æsthetic sense. Since Mannequin rotting in a taxicab is a good composition. And between these two fallacies there is no middle position, but we seldom hear much about it. On the one side Kulturbolschewismus: on the other (though the phrase itself is out of fashion) Art for Art’s sake. Obscenity is a very difficult question to discuss honestly. People are too frightened either of seeming to be shocked or of seeming not to be shocked, to be able to define the relationship between art and morals. It will be seen that what the defenders of Dali are claiming is a kind of benefit of clergy. The artist is to be exempt from the moral laws that are binding on ordinary people. Just pronounce the magic word Art, and everything is O.K.

Author Picture
First Name
George
Last Name
Orwell, pen name of Eric Arthur Blair
Birth Date
1903
Death Date
1950
Bio

English Author and Journalist, known for books "Animal Farm", and "Nineteen Eighty Four"