Wednesday, August 20, 2008

George Orwell Joins the Blogosphere!

Let's welcome George Orwell to the international blogging community. Somehow, after penning Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949), working all those prole jobs he detailed in Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) and even after passing away, he has enough energy left over to keep on writing.

To check out his daily posts, click here. Careful, George - it's a zoo out here!

The real deal: Entries from Orwell's diaries, dated Aug. 9, 1938 through October 1942, are being posted "in real time," seven decades after they were written. The blog appears on the site of the Orwell Prize, Britain's top prize for political reporting.

Orwell, born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in India, died in 1950 at age 46.

Thanks to the St. Petersburg Times for alerting readers to Orwell's "blog."

In other Orwell news: Orwell, an atheist who favored socialism, and Evelyn Waugh, a Catholic who embraced all the privileges of high society, shared remarkably similar worldviews, according to The Same Man, a dual biography by David Lebedoff.

It's a radical thesis, one that apparently requires more than a little stretching of the facts at hand. The book has met with decidedly mixed reviews, including the one by New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani.

Writes Kakutani: "In trying to make this case, Mr. Lebedoff often sounds like a member of a college debate team, ignoring obvious facts that would undermine his argument, while searching far and wide for any shred of evidence that might buttress his thesis. Yes, both men might have agreed that one must choose between this world and the next, but they came to opposite conclusions: as Mr. Lebedoff acknowledges, Orwell chose “to take action here and now,” for “everything in this world was to him political,” while for Waugh “everything in this life was irrelevant — social justice as well as debauchery.”

Here's Kakutani's review.

Kakutani apparently learned a lesson or two from the doublespeak Orwell perfected - for literary purposes - in 1984. Witness this line from the review: "But if “The Same Man” is not terribly persuasive as a work of polemic, it does not make for unworthwhile reading."

In other words, it's worthwhile. Why didn't she just say so?

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