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posted by [personal profile] kchew at 11:57pm on 28/03/2009
Why, oh why, has it taken me so long to read "Books v Cigarettes," "Bookshop Memories," and "Confessions of a Book Reviewer" by George Orwell? Was I living under a *rock*? Goddamn, they are funny. And true.

I swear, I had no idea that Orwell could be this funny. Now onwards to read other essays in the volume, which promise less funny but more thought, such as "The Prevention of Literature" and "My Country Right or Left." Most excellent.

I am reading, for those interested, the new, green, "Great Ideas" series edition from Penguin, entitled "Books v Cigarettes," which is a pretty little object.
There are 7 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] radargrrl.livejournal.com at 04:03am on 29/03/2009
It seems Eric Arthur Blair was a close friend of my late grandad, who had some other interesting acquaintances as well.
 
posted by [identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com at 04:10am on 29/03/2009
!!0_0!! I'll bet!

(you could, if you wished, tell me more...)
 
posted by [identity profile] radargrrl.livejournal.com at 04:12am on 29/03/2009
If I knew more than those simple details, I would surely relay them.
 
posted by [identity profile] tacticalbuddha.livejournal.com at 04:11am on 29/03/2009
I swear, I had no idea that Orwell could be this funny.

Given a certain mindset going in, _1984_ can be read as very, very dark comedy. Somwhere on the level of Kafka writng scripts for M*A*S*H.

(Or maybe it's just me...)
 
posted by [identity profile] poeticalpanther.livejournal.com at 02:11pm on 29/03/2009
Interesting you should mention 1984 - a work he almost certainly cribbed in large part from Zamyatin's We. Soviet dystopian fiction was part of my thesis: if you compare 1984 and a contemporary English translation of We, there are whole paragraphs of correspondence, all over the place.
 
posted by [identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com at 03:16pm on 29/03/2009
I read We and 1984 as part of a first-year political science course that delved into utopian and dystopian fiction to illustrate the ideas being discussed. I recall there being similarities, but given Orwell's dislike of totalitarianism, it would make sense that he was influenced by Zamyatin. Are you saying that he was more than influenced, and stole directly from Zamyatin (conscious or unconscious plagarism)?
 
posted by [identity profile] poeticalpanther.livejournal.com at 03:23pm on 29/03/2009
I'm not the only one; it's been a charge raised many times. There are some paragraphs - particularly those in the description of the city - which seem to be lifted almost wholesale from an English translation (or are directly translated into 1984). He admitted to having taken some of the ideas, though he insisted Huxley had taken far more for Brave New World, but there are some contentions that he had in fact lifted actual text as well, possibly figuring that a foreign book, and one banned in its homeland, might not become enormously well-known in the West.

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