Orwell and the English Language

Friday, December 19, 2008


Best known for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell's mastery of clear language is nowhere more evident than in his essays. New Yorker staff writer George Packer, who has compiled some of these shorter works into two volumes, says Orwell's voice was irascible and witty and, above all, direct.

Hear more of Brooke's conversation with George Packer

    Music Playlist
  • Acoustic Groove
    Artist: Mirah

Comments [4]

David Zack from marion.maclean@fcps.edu

Perhaps for next year. Ran across this today.


Jan. 21 2009 03:21 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven

You know, I couldn’t help but have lived and written under my real name. I still do.

What Packard (whom I have appreciated on Charlie Rose numerous times – reminds of our local art critic Chris Arnott) glosses over, but which I can never forget, is that we are in reality discussing Eric Blair, here. Orwell is a character created by Blair to obscure his true identity, origins and background, perhaps to insulate his family from his self-destructive impulses.

Blair, not Orwell, is quite capable of taking vacations in the countryside, away from his research into the brutal living conditions of the mining families in soot covered hovels, with wealthier friends or family members. He may not be one of the “pansy” leftists he complains about but he never truly escapes the pretensions of his station and birth.

Reading widely from his works and from a voluminous biography (which is at home but is, I believe, Bernard Crick’s “George Orwell, A Life”) opened my eyes to the many contradictions other readers with which I have been acquainted like to ignore. He was far more complex than even Packard leads us to understand from this interview, though I look forward to his two works and what will surely be more extensive commentaries.

I, also, can’t wait to get home and hear Brooke’s extended interview.

Dec. 22 2008 03:00 PM
William P. G. from California

Recognition of Orwell's greatness as a writer seems to rise, bit by bit, year by year.

Most people have only discovered 1984 and Animal Farm.

As the broadcast showed very well, there is so much more to Orwell. The directness and clarity of his writing is amazing and wonderful.

Dec. 21 2008 07:32 PM
Cis Porter from Stafford, VA

Splendidly presented discussion with clips of George Orwell works a lot of us may not have been familiar with. The part about 7 year old Orwell accepting his beatings, and his words on his place in the social structure were fascinating and compelling for me as . . . one who writes some, and who teaches writing and lit. to college frosh. Thank you!

Dec. 21 2008 12:44 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.