George Orwell: Essays and Short Stories

George Orwell Essays

Born as Eric Arthur Blair in England, George Orwell is a notable novelist and journalist of his time. He ranked as second among 50 Greatest English Writers since 1945, recognized by The Times. He influences his readers by his numerous essays on culture, language, politics, and literature. Orwell claimed several modern writers that had influenced him include, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Miller, G. K. Chesterton, George Gissing, Graham Greene, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad and Yevgeny.

Later George Orwell essays and his influence garnered much praise. Veracity is among his most laudable character, the same attribute which made his essays and works a patriotic voice against totalitarian and democratic socialism.

“I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”

George Orwell

For bravely taking political stand, his name was even brought to fame with the word Orwellian; an adjective describing attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past.

Many uttered praises and accolade for his honesty as journalist.

“[Orwell] uncompromising intellectual honesty
[which] made him appear almost inhuman at times.

Arthur Koestler

“Orwell’s writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it.”

Ben Wattenberg

Notes on Nationalism

In 1945, Polemic first published Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism”. This was written on May 1945, in the outset and final stage of the World War II. Orwell preached that forms of nationalism such as Nazism could create destruction. He listed other forms of nationalism such as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Anti-Semitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism. His essay clearly differentiates patriotism and nationalism.

By ‘nationalism’ I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other Unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its Interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular Way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other People. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, NOT for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.“-

Notes on Nationalism, George Orwell.

Orwell describes followers of nationalistic ideologies as driven by such emotions like obsession, instability, and indifference to reality. He explains this by saying that nationalists only dream of power and domination; and is loyal to its own faction’s superiority. Orwell condemns nationalistic actions during the Second World War such as torture, civilian bombings, forced labor, imprisonment.

Why I Write

George Orwell’s essay, “Why I Write”, shares his reasons for writing. In this essay, Orwell enumerates and points out his motivation as a journalist and why he writes:

  • 1. Aesthetic enthusiasm
  • 2. Sheer egoism
  • 3. Historical impulse
  • 4. Political purpose

Since the time of his career as a journalist is marked by political strain, in this essay, George Orwell explained that he was merely acting as a pamphleteer or one who shares his opinion and expressing political sympathies.

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