A Collection of Essays

  The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell

  Volume II: My Country Right or Left 1940-1943

  by George Orwell

  Edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus

  a.b.e-book v3.0 / Notes at EOF

  Back Cover:

  "He was a man, like Lawrence, whose personality shines out in everything he said or wrote." -- Cyril Connolly

  George Orwell requested in his will that no biography of him should be written. This collection of essays, reviews, articles, and letters which he wrote between the ages of seventeen and forty-six (when he died) is arranged in chronological order. The four volumes provide at once a wonderfully intimate impression of, and a "splendid monument" to, one of the most honest and individual writers of this century -- a man who forged a unique literary manner from the process of thinking aloud, who possessed an unerring gift for going straight to the point, and who elevated political writing to an art.

  The second volume principally covers the two years when George Orwell worked as a Talks Assistant (and later Producer) in the Indian section of the B.B.C. At the same time he was writing for Horizon, New Statesman and other periodicals. His wartime diaries are included here.

  Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England

  Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia

  First published in England by Seeker & Warburg 1968

  Published in Penguin Books 1970

  Reprinted 1971

  Copyright (c) Sonia Brownell Orwell, 1968

  Made and printed in Great Britain by

  Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd, Aylesbury, Bucks

  Set in Linotype Times

  This book is sold subject to the condition

  that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise,

  be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated

  without the publisher's prior consent in any form of

  binding or cover other than that in which it is

  published and without a similar condition

  including this condition being imposed

  on the subsequent purchaser



  A Note on the Editing


  1. New Words

  2. Review of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

  3. Notes on the Way

  4. Letter to Rayner Heppenstall

  5. Review of Personal Record by Julian Green

  6. Letter to Rayner Heppenstall

  7. [Autobiographical Note]

  8. Review of The Totalitarian Enemy by Franz Borkenau

  9. Letter to the Editor of Time and Tide

  10. Letter to John Lehmann

  11. Prophecies of Fascism

  12. Letter to James Laughlin

  13. Charles Reade

  14. The Proletarian Writer

  15. Review of Landfall by Nevil Shute, etc.


  16. London Letter to Partisan Review

  17. The Lion and the Unicorn

  18. Letter to the Reverend Iorwerth Jones

  19. London Letter to Partisan Review

  20. The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda

  21. Tolstoy and Shakespeare

  22. The Meaning of a Poem

  23. Literature and Totalitarianism

  24. Letter to Dorothy Plowman

  25. Wells, Hitler and the World State

  26. London Letter to Partisan Review

  27. The Art of Donald McGill

  28. No, Not One


  29. London Letter to Partisan Review

  30. Rudyard Kipling

  31. The Rediscovery of Europe

  32. The British Crisis: London Letter to Partisan Review

  33. Review of The Sword and the Sickle by Mulk Raj Anand

  34. Pacifism and the War

  35. London Letter to Partisan Review

  36. Review of Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages by T. S. Eliot

  37. An Unpublished Letter to the Editor of The Times

  38. B.B.C. Internal Memorandum

  39. Letter to T. S. Eliot

  40. Review of The British Way in Warfare by B. H. Liddell Hart

  41. Looking Back on the Spanish War

  42. Letter to George Woodcock


  43. W.B.Yeats

  44. Letter from England to Partisan Review

  45. Pamphlet Literature

  46. London Letter to Partisan Review

  47. Literature and the Left

  48. Letter to an American Visitor by Obadiah Hornbooke and As One Non-Combatant to Another

  49. Letter to Alex Comfort

  50. Letter to Rayner Heppenstall

  51. Review of Beggar My Neighbour by Lionel Fielden

  52. Letter to L. F. Rushbrook-Williams

  53. Letter to Philip Rahv

  54. Who Are the War Criminals?

  55. Mark Twain -- The Licensed Jester

  56. Poetry and the Microphone

  Wartime Diaries

  57. Wartime Diary: 28 May 1940-28 August 1941

  58. Wartime Diary: 14 March 1942-15 November 1942

  Appendix I: Books by or containing contributions by George Orwell

  Appendix II: Chronology


  The editors wish to express their grateful thanks to the following institutions and libraries, their trustees, curators and staffs for their cooperation and valuable help and for making copies of Orwell material available: Sir Frank Francis, Director and Principal Librarian of the British Museum (for: II: 37; III: 105; IV: 8); Dr John D. Gordan, Curator of the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations (for: 1:18, 22, 23, 31, 33, 36, 38, 48, 50-52, 54, 58, 60, 61, 73, 75, 76, 86, 92, 98, 108, 112, 116, 121, 124, 128, 133, 139, 140, 141, 146, 154; III: 53, 97, 106; IV: 29, 59, 92, 95, 100, 106, 107, 110, 115, 121, 126, 136, 137, 142, 144, 159, 164, 165); Dr Warren Roberts, Director of the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas (for: I: 65, 66, 79, 102, 122, 123, 161; II: 4, 6, 10, 50; III: 52); S. C. Sutton, Librarian and Keeper of India Office Records (for: I: 115); Robert L. Collison, Librarian of the B.B.C. Library (for: II: 38, 39, 52); Dr G. Chandler, Librarian of Liverpool City Library (for: 1: 94); Wilbur Smith, Head of the Department of Special Collections, Library of the University of California, Los Angeles (for: I: 84); Anne Abley, Librarian of St Anthony's College, Oxford (for: IV: 31, 32); and J. W. Scott, Librarian of University College, London, for the material in the George Orwell Archive.

  We are also deeply indebted to all those recipients of letters from Orwell, or their executors, who have been kind enough to make available the correspondence published in these volumes.

  We would like to thank the following publications for permission to reproduce material first published in their pages: Commentary; Encounter; the Evening Standard; Forward; Life; the Listener; the London Magazine; the Manchester Evening News; the New Leader (N.Y.); the New Statesman and Nation; the New Yorker; the New York Times Book Review; the Observer; Partisan Review; Peace News; the Socialist Leader; Time and Tide; The Times; Tribune; Wiadomosci.

  We would like to thank the following for allowing us to use material whose copyright they own: the executors of the late Frank Richards for his 'Reply to George Orwell' in Horizon; H. W. Wilson & Co. for Orwell's entry in Twentieth Century Authors; George Allen & Unwin Ltd for "The Rediscovery of Europe" from Talking to India; Professor George Woodcock and D. S. Savage for their contributions to the controversy "Pacifism and the War" in Partisan Review; Dr Alex Comfort for his contribution to the same controversy and for his "Letter to an American Visitor" in Tribune; William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd for The E
nglish People; the executors of the late James Agate for his contribution to the controversy in the Manchester Evening News; the executors of Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Oxford University Press for "Felix Randal"; Elek Books Ltd for the Introduction to Jack London's Love of Life; Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd for the Introduction to Leonard Merrick's The Position of Peggy Harper and the executors of the late Konni Zilliacus for his letters to Tribune.

  We would like to thank the following for their cooperation and invaluable help; Mrs Evelyn Anderson, the Hon. David Astor, Frank D. Barber, Dennis Ceilings, Dr Alex Comfort, Jack Common, Lettice Cooper, Stafford Cottman, Humphrey Dakin, Mrs John Deiner, Mrs William Dunn, Mrs T. S. Eliot, Dr McDonald Emslie, Faber and Faber Ltd, Mr and Mrs Francis Fierz, Roy Fuller, T. R. Fyvel, Livia Gollancz, Victor Gollancz Ltd, Mrs Arthur Goodman, A. S. F. Gow, James Hanley, Rayner Heppenstall, Inez Holden, Mrs Humphrey House, Mrs Lydia Jackson, Frank Jellinek, Dr Shirley E. Jones, Jon Kimche, Denys King-Farlow, Arthur Koestler, Mrs Georges Kopp, James Laughlin, F. A. Lea, John Lehmann, John McNair, Michael Meyer, Henry Miller, Raymond Mortimer, Mrs Middleton Murry, Mrs Rosalind Obermeyer, Laurence O'Shaughnessy, Partisan Review, Professor R. S. Peters, Ruth Fitter, Joyce Pritchard, Philip Rahv, Sir Herbert Read, Vernon Richards, the Rev. Herbert Rogers, the Hon. Sir Steven Runciman, Brenda Salkeld, John Sceats, Roger Senhouse, Stephen Spender, Oliver Stallybrass, Professor Gleb Struve, Julian Symons, F. J. Warburg and Professor George Woodcock. We would also like to thank: Angus Calder (for allowing us to consult his unpublished thesis on the Common Wealth Party); Howard Fink (for allowing us to consult his unpublished Chronology of Orwell's Loci and Activities); and I. R. Wilson (whose George Orwell: Some Materials for a Bibliography, School of Librarianship, London University, 1953, was indispensable).

  Finally, this edition would not have been possible but for the patient and understanding editorial help of Aubrey Davis and the support and help of the Library staff of University College London, particularly that of J. W. Scott, the Librarian, Margaret Skerl, Karen Bishop, Mrs Michael Kraushaar and Mrs Gordon Leitch.

  A Note on the Editing

  The contents are arranged in order of publication except where the time lag between writing and appearance in print is unusually large, when we have chosen the date of writing. There are one or two rare exceptions to this rule, generally made for the sake of illustrating the development in Orwell's thought, but a note at the end of each article or review states when, and in which publication, it appeared first. If it was not published or the date of writing has determined its position, the date of writing is given. Where there is no mention of a periodical at the end of an article, it has never been published before. "Why I Write", written in 1946, has been placed at the beginning of Volume I, as it seems a suitable introduction to the whole collection. Where an article was reprinted in the major collections of his writing, this has been indicated and the following abbreviations used for the various books: C.E., Collected Essays; Cr.E., Critical Essays; D.D., Dickens, Dali and Others; E.Y.E., England Your England; I .T .W.,Inside the Whale; O.R.,The Orwell Reader; S.E., Shooting an Elephant; S.J., Such Were the Joys.

  Any title in square brackets at the head of an article or review has been supplied by us. All the others are either Orwell's own or those of the editors of the publication in question. He certainly wrote his own titles for his Tribune pieces: some of the others read as if he had written them but with most it is hard to tell and there is no way of finally checking.

  Only when the article has never been printed before have we had the manuscript to work from and none of these were revised by Orwell as they would have been had he published them. With everything else we have had to use the text as it appeared in print. As anyone who has ever done any journalism or book reviewing knows, this means the text which appears here may well be slightly, if not very, different from the text Orwell originally wrote. Editors cut, printers make errors which are not thought of as very important in journalism, and it is only when the writer wants to reprint his pieces in book form that he bothers to restore the cuts, correct the errors and generally prepare them to survive in more lasting form: the reader therefore should bear in mind that they might well be very different if Orwell had revised them for republication. Both to these previously printed essays and journalism and to the hitherto unpublished articles and diaries we have given a uniform style in spelling, quotation marks and punctuation.

  The letters were written, nearly always in haste, with scant attention to style and hardly any to punctuation; but throughout them we have corrected spelling mistakes, regularized the punctuation and have put book and periodical titles in italics. In a few cases postscripts of an unimportant nature have been omitted without indication. Otherwise cuts in both the letters and the journalism have been indicated by three dots, with a fourth dot to indicate a period. The same method was used by Orwell for indicating omissions when abridging excerpts he was quoting in reviews and essays, but as we have not made cuts in any of these excerpts there should be no confusion between our cuts and Orwell's own.

  Orwell's "As I Please" column often consisted of two or more sections each devoted to a specific topic. Whenever one of the self-contained sections has been entirely omitted, this has not been indicated, but any cut made within a section is indicated by the usual three or four dots.

  George Orwell never legally changed his name from Eric Blair and all the friends he made when young knew him and addressed him as Eric Blair. Later on new friends and acquaintances knew him and addressed him as George Orwell. In his letters he signs himself by the name his correspondent used. His earlier articles were signed E. A. Blair or Eric Blair and we have indicated these. From the moment this name is dropped in his published writing it is entirely signed George Orwell. Where a footnote deals with a period or a situation in which he would have looked upon himself primarily as Eric Blair we have referred to him by this name.

  As this is an Anglo-American edition, many of the footnotes have been provided for the benefit of American readers and contain information we know to be familiar to English readers. We have put in the minimum of footnotes. This is largely because of the great difficulty of annotating the history of the period during which he wrote. It is still too recent for standard histories of it to exist and the events and people he discussed are often still the subjects of fierce polemic making it difficult to give an "objective" footnote. We have only footnoted the text in some detail where he talks about people or events in his personal life or where there is a reference to some topic about which the reader could find nothing in any existing book of reference. The numbers in the cross-references in the footnotes refer to items, not pages.



  1. New Words

  At present the formation of new words is a slow process (I have read somewhere that English gains about six and loses about four words a year) and no new words are deliberately coined except as names for material objects. Abstract words are never coined at all, though old words (e.g. "condition", "reflex", etc.) are sometimes twisted into new meanings for scientific purposes. What I am going to suggest here is that it would be quite feasible to invent a vocabulary, perhaps amounting to several thousands of words, which would deal with parts of our experience now practically unamenable to language. There are several objections to the idea, and I will deal with these as they arise. The first step is to indicate the kind of purpose for which new words are needed.

  Everyone who thinks at all has noticed that our language is practically useless for describing anything that goes on inside the brain. This is so generally recognized that writers of high skill (e.g. Trollope and Mark Twain) will start their autobiographies by saying that they do not intend to describe their inner life, because it is of its nature indescribable. So soon as we are dealing with anything that is not concrete or visible (and even there to a great extent -- look at the difficulty of describing anyone's appearance) we find that words are no liker to the reality than chessmen to
living beings. To take an obvious case which will not raise side-issues, consider a dream. How do you describe a dream? Clearly you never describe it, because no words that convey the atmosphere of dreams exist in our language. Of course, you can give a crude approximation of some of the major facts in a dream. You can say "I dreamed that I was walking down Regent Street with a porcupine wearing a bowler hat" etc., but this is no real description of the dream. And even if a psychologist interprets your dream in terms of "symbols", he is still going largely by guesswork; for the real quality of the dream, the quality that gave the porcupine its sole significance, is outside the world of words. In fact, describing a dream is like translating a poem into the language of one of Bohn's cribs; it is a paraphrase which is meaningless unless one knows the original.

  I chose dreams as an instance that would not be disputed, but if it were only dreams that were indescribable, the matter might not be worth bothering about. But, as has been pointed out over and over again, the waking mind is not so different from the dreaming mind as it appears -- or as we like to pretend that it appears. It is true that most of our waking thoughts are "reasonable" -- that is, there exists in our minds a kind of chessboard upon which thoughts move logically and verbally; we use this part of our minds for any straightforward intellectual problem, and we get into the habit of thinking (i.e. thinking in our chessboard moments) that it is the whole of the mind. But obviously it is not the whole. The disordered, un-verbal world belonging to dreams is never quite absent from our minds, and if any calculation were possible I dare say it would be found that quite half the volume of our waking thoughts were of this order. Certainly the dream-thoughts take a hand even when we are trying to think verbally, they influence the verbal thoughts, and it is largely they that make our inner life valuable. Examine your thought at any casual moment. The main movement in it will be a stream of nameless things -- so nameless that one hardly knows whether to call them thoughts, images or feelings. In the first place there are the objects you see and the sounds you hear, which are in themselves describable in words, but which as soon as they enter your mind become something quite different and totally indescribable.1 And besides this there is the dream-life which your mind unceasingly creates for itself -- and though most of this is trivial and soon forgotten, it contains things which are beautiful, funny, etc. beyond anything that ever gets into words. In a way this un-verbal part of your mind is even the most important part, for it is the source of nearly all motives. All likes and dislikes, all aesthetic feeling, all notions of right and wrong (aesthetic and moral considerations are in any case inextricable) spring from feelings which are generally admitted to be subtler than words. When you are asked "Why do you do, or not do, so and so?" you are invariably aware that your real reason will not go into words, even when you have no wish to conceal it; consequently you rationalize your conduct, more or less dishonestly. I don't know whether everyone would admit this, and it is a fact that some people seem unaware of being influenced by their inner life, or even of having any inner life. I notice that many people never laugh when they are alone, and I suppose that if a man does not laugh when he is alone his inner life must be relatively barren. Still, every at all individual man has an inner life, and is aware of the practical impossibility of understanding others or being understood -- in general, of the star-like isolation in which human beings live. Nearly all literature is an attempt to escape from this isolation by roundabout means, the direct means (words in their primary meanings) being almost useless.

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