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George Orwell Now!

Preface by Richard Blair, Son of George Orwell


Edited By Richard Lance Keeble

George Orwell remains an iconic figure today – even though he died in 1950. His dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a Big Brother society in which the state intrudes into the most intimate details of people’s lives – and, not surprisingly, it became a constant reference point after Edward Snowden’s revelations. The word «Orwellian» is constantly in the media – used either as a pejorative adjective to evoke totalitarian terror or as a complimentary adjective to mean «displaying outspoken intellectual honesty». Interest in Orwell’s life and writings – globally – continues unabated.
Beginning with a preface by Richard Blair, Orwell’s son, George Orwell Now! brings together thirteen chapters by leading international scholars in four thematic sections:
• Peter Marks on Orwell and the history of surveillance studies; Florian Zollmann on Nineteen Eighty-Four in 2014; Henk Vynckier on Orwell’s collecting project; and Adam Stock on ‘Big Brother’s Literary Offspring’
• Paul Anderson «In Defence of Bernard Crick»; Luke Seaber on the «London Section of Down and Out in Paris and London»; John Newsinger on «Orwell’s Socialism»; and Philip Bounds on «Orwell and the Anti-Austerity Left in Britain»
• Marina Remy on the «Writing of Otherness in Burmese Days and Keep the Aspidistra Flying»; Sreya Mallika Datta and Utsa Mukherjee on «Reassessing Ambivalence in Orwell’s Burma»; and Shu-chu Wei on Orwell’s Animal Farm alongside Chen Jo-his’s Mayor Yin
• Tim Crook on «Orwell and the Radio Imagination»; and editor Richard Lance Keeble on «Orwell and the War Reporter’s Imagination»
Peter Stansky, in an afterword, argues that Orwell is now more relevant than ever before.
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Chapter Six: Trust the Teller and Not the Tale: Reflections on Orwell’s Hidden Rhetoric of Truthfulness in the London Section of Down and Out in Paris and London


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Trust THE Teller AND NOT THE Tale

Reflections on Orwell’s Hidden Rhetoric of Truthfulness in the London Section of Down and Out in Paris and London


The title of Orwell’s first book, much parodied and much reinvented, is in fact misleading and a form of sleight of hand.1 It (banally enough) suggests that it deals with the experience of being down and out in two cities, and that such differences as one may expect to find in these experiences will lie in what differs between the French capital and the English. This is not the case. Orwell’s experiences in Paris are methodologically quite distinct from those in London.

This can be seen emblematically in the use of the two cities’ names in the title, even though only one of them is the sole site of his (assumed) poverty in the country in question. Orwell is certainly down and out in Paris, but it would be more precise, although undoubtedly less euphonious to speak of ‘London and surrounding areas.’ In France, Orwell remains within the city; in England, he travels from casual ward to casual ward. This is not just a reflection of the fact that Orwell investigated more than one type of poverty, and that the casual ward system necessarily implied a wandering status that was absent from the hand-to-mouth but nonetheless working world of plongeurs and others in Paris. Living...

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