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Inside the Whale and Other Essays (1940)

por George Orwell

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In Politics and the English Language, Orwell puts the case for political writers to use plain English and illustrates his point in essays such as England your England and Inside the Whale, while essays on language and literature consider Gulliver's Travels, Tolstoy and King Lear.
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There are several overlaps with the book "Shooting an Elephant", but "Inside the Whale", discusses the literary scene inhabited by the writers who would be "Avant garde in the 1950's and early 60's. Orwell is writing about them in 1940, and predicting their futures. He's good at it. "England, your England" describes the effects of the war in 1940, and advances an intelligent patriotism. "Boy's Weeklies" is a description of the genre that later led to the world of Harry Potter. (sorry, but it is true!)
The Title of this 1962 Penguin reprint means that this isn't a review of the Gollancz book of 1940. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Jun 6, 2014 |
This is a short collection of 9 essays on various topics, but generally some combination of literature, politics, and society. I'd read previously another collection of Orwell's essays, which I enjoyed, and this collection is just as good. Though the topics of these essays are quite specific, and might not strike everyone as interesting topics for essays, they are all interesting, as Orwell writes so well as to be of general interest. Aside from being of value for literary reasons, some of the essays are also of historical value as they document the state of society as it was in the past. ( )
2 vote P_S_Patrick | Oct 6, 2012 |
I have already read some of these essays but the new stuff and the odd re-read was highly rewarding.

Orwell is an exceptionally lucid writer, expressing insightful thoughts with clarity and imagination. The description of a working coalmine is direct and powerful, and even the lit crit about writers I haven't read comes across as sharp. The peach is "Politics and the English Language", which should be required reading for anyone who uses words, which is to say everybody. ( )
1 vote usyd23 | Feb 1, 2009 |
When Orwell met Miller in Paris in 1936 on his way to fight in Spain, the American novelist, who was completely indifferent to the Civil War, told Orwell that he was an idiot. In ‘Inside the Whale’ and three enthusiastic book reviews Orwell revealed his fascination with and attraction to Miller’s astonishing passivity and his total rejection of the concept of decency.

This was Orwell’s first collection of essays, published by Gollancz in March 1940 shortly after the Second World War broke out, emphasized a new and extremely important aspect of his work, which was recognized and appreciated by the critics. ‘Charles Dickens, ’ the longest of his essays and one of the earliest critical studies of the novelist, is still valuable for its freshness and vigor as well as for Orwell’s suggestive identification with his subject. ‘Boys’ Weeklies’ examines the political implications of those magazines ‘sodden with the worst illusions of 1910. ’ And ‘Inside the Whale’ uses Henry Miller to exemplify the attractive and comfortable declaration of irresponsibility which Orwell himself was unable to make.
3 vote antimuzak | Nov 6, 2006 |
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When Henry Miller's novel, Tropic of Cancer, appeared in 1935, it was greeted with cautious praise, obviously conditioned in some cases by a fear of seeming to enjoy pornography.
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In Politics and the English Language, Orwell puts the case for political writers to use plain English and illustrates his point in essays such as England your England and Inside the Whale, while essays on language and literature consider Gulliver's Travels, Tolstoy and King Lear.

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