marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

As I Please

As I Please:  The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters, vol. 3 1943-1945 by George Orwell.

I think more essays and fewer letters than even the one before, covering up to the tail end of World War II -- it includes an allusion to the atom bomb, namely that the Japanese surrender did much to reconcile the British to it.

More literary criticism and discussion of writing.  He objects to the notion of criticism that is actually disapproval of your opponents' point of view -- in the abstract, he doesn't always avoid it with concrete lit crit.  His review of Hayek's Road to Serfdom is clearer than most; he admits that Hayek has a good view of the problems of controlled economies, but his belief in historical inevitable hampers him, and he's quite certain that economic competitions have winners -- and there your competition ends.

Some interesting little bits about English cookery, and the wonders of Woolworth's roses and how the cheap ones he got are still flourishing and bringing joy to passersby long after he left the place where he planted them.

The war and the political developments as they appeared then.  At the end of the war, doing a letter for the Partisan Review that summed up his earlier letter he observed that he had often been wrong in his predictions, and that many people were when they did not want what was going to happen.  (He does not go on to observe that the accurate ones were probably as much wishful thinking, too.)

Discussion of the birthrate in a manner that shows how very differently the matter was viewed back then.
Update:  It occurs to me that I should include a warning about "Benefit of the Clergy", one of the essays.  It's about Dali, and it concludes with observations about saying that a work is a magnificent piece of artistry and should be burned by the public hangman.  It makes it very clear why he thinks of this of Dali, and it's rather revolting stuff.
Tags: history reviews: communism, history reviews: world war ii era, lit crit, non-fiction: essays, non-historical non-fiction reviews, primary source review

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