[ilds] The Wisdom of George Orwell in relation to Lawrence Durrell

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Tue Oct 13 18:31:52 PDT 2009

RW Hedges has just sent me a wonderful collection of essays by George Orwell, entitled "Books V. Cigarettes"

I have have downloaded a section from an essay The Prevention of Literature which I feel applies to much of our recent postings on Durrell. Here it is

Above a quite low level, literature is an attempt to influence the viewpoint of one's contemporaries by recording experience. And so far as freedom of expression is concerned, there is not much difference between a mere journalist and the most 'unpolitical' imaginative writer. The journalist is unfree, and is conscious of unfreedom, when he is forced to write lies or suppress what seems to him important news; the imaginative writer is unfree when he has to falsify his subjective feelings, which from his point of view are facts. He may distort and caricature reality in order to make his meaning clearer, but he cannot misrepresent the scenery of his own mind; he cannot say with any conviction that he likes what he dislikes, or believes what he disbelieves. If he is forced to do so, the only result is that his creative faculties will dry up. Nor can he solve the problem by keeping away from controversial topics. There is no such thing as a genuinely non-political literature, and least of all in an age like our own, when fears, hatreds, and loyalties of a directly political kind are near to the surface of everyone's consciousness. (pp 21 - 41)

This whole essay is well worth a read and as relevent today as it was in 1946. complete text at



David Green

16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625
dtart at bigpond.net.au
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