George Orwell: The Nightmare of the Real

  • John Orr
Part of the Edinburgh Studies in Sociology book series (ESIS)


English writing has never been the same since George Orwell. The very clarity of his style is a model of its kind, to be contrasted with the general deterioration of contemporary language. Yet Orwell’s literary talent has forced the English novel into a predicament from which it has yet to recover. Though unintentionally so, Orwell’s talent always raised the question ‘Why the novel?’ His remarkable gift for writing was dispersed equally amongst social commentary, memoir, cultural criticism, political journalism and fiction. Raymond Williams has gone so far to suggest it pointless, even impossible, to separate Orwellian documentary and Orwellian fiction. But such an assertion by a major critic merely shows the damage done by Orwell’s legacy to the very idea of fiction. More than anyone he has undermined conventional notions of the fictional preserve of the novel. The tragedy is that his own fiction has suffered in the process. For paradoxically the combination of Orwell’s social awareness and his gift for writing in a wide range of genres, has had an adverse effect upon his literary legacy.


Party Member Social Commentary Future World Dreamless Sleep Realist Fiction 
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© John Orr 1977

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  • John Orr

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