As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead.All Art Is Propaganda follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as "Politics and the English Language" and "Rudyard Kipling" and gems such as "Good Bad Books," here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, "how to be interesting, line after line."
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) served with the Imperial Police in Burma, fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, and was a member of the Home Guard and a writer for the BBC during World War II. He is the author of many works of nonfiction and fiction.
GEORGE PACKER is a staff writer for the New Yorker and author of The Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq and other works. He lives in Brooklyn.Keith Gessen was born in Russia and educated at Harvard. He is a founding editor of n+1 and has written about literature and culture for Dissent, the Nation, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books. He is the author of the novel All the Sad Young Literary Men.
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Table of Contents
Foreword by George Packer • ix
Introduction by Keith Gessen • xvii
Charles Dickens • 1
Boys’ Weeklies • 63
Inside the Whale • 95
Drama Reviews: The Tempest, The Peaceful Inn • 141
Film Review: The Great Dictator • 144
Wells, Hitler and the World State • 148
The Art of Donald McGill • 156
No, Not One • 169
Rudyard Kipling • 177
T. S. Eliot • 194
Can Socialists Be Happy? • 202
Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dali • 210
Propaganda and Demotic Speech • 223
Raffles and Miss Blandish • 232
Good Bad Books • 248
The Prevention of Literature • 253
Politics and the English Language • 270
Confessions of a Book Reviewer • 287
Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels • 292
Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool • 316
Writers and Leviathan • 337
Review of The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene • 346
Reflections on Gandhi • 352
Notes • 363
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
No Orwellian newspeak here. The clarity of Orwell's writing is astounding and provide much to think about.
Orwell the Pamphleteer This is a collection of essays edited by two academics with a short preface and introduction from each. There isn't a common thesis among the essays, but they loosely correspond to the notion that all art (really they mean literature) is propagandistic.Surely some of the essays stretch that notion a little too far. In fact, one could argue that several of the essays don't even related to the title of the book. Nevertheless, Orwell is still great to read, a unique and wonderful wit to his writing. An example would be: "Political writing in our time consists almost entiresly of prefabricated phrases bolted together like the pieces of a child's Meccano set" (p. 262).Orwell is strongest when he writes about totalitarianism, and class-consciousness. But the first chapters on Dickens are also very thought-provoking. His famous "Politics of the English Language" is also included. Though the editors claim that essayists like Orwell are a rare breed, one could argue that such political satire has simply transitioned into a different medium.Overall, this is a great book from one of the twentieth-century's most influential writers. While most of the material is probably accessible by other means, they are conveniently packaged in one neat book here.
A new collection of the essays of George Orwell is always welcome and this one is timely in this hyper-political election year. All Art is Propaganda is a collection of his essays bound by the theme of philosophical and aesthetic commentary. It includes such masterpieces as "Politics and the English Language", "Charles Dickens" and "Rudyard Kipling". Of particular interest in our political enthused year are the essays addressing the nature of propaganda; both directly in "Propaganda and Demotic Speech", and somewhat tangentially in "Politics and the English Language". The latter being more important includes many bits of wisdom including,"if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. Bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better."The usage of political speech in the twenty-first century is proof enough of Orwell's claim. Thoughtful criticism, such as Orwell's, is woefully lacking in our current day, particularly among practicing politicians and their supporters. Reading Orwell reminds one of the possibilities of fine prose. His essays never fail to be both enlightening and interesting on each of the disparate topics he addresses. I hope that some of the many readers of his novels will take the time to savor their fine prose.