ORWELL, George. Devastating quotes from the author of "1984" and "Animal Farm".

George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950). was an enormously influential  British author and journalist,  most famous for his best-selling novels “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (published in 1949) and “Animal Farm” (1945) (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell and http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Orwell ).

George Orwell (1935): “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not money, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not money, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not money, it profiteth me nothing. Money suffereth long, and is kind; money envieth not; money vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. ... And now abideth faith, hope, money, these three; but the greatest of these is money. [I Corinthians xiii (adapted)].” [1].

George Orwell (1936): They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket.” [1].

George Orwell (1944):During part of 1941 and 1942, when the Luftwaffe was busy in Russia, the German radio regaled its home audience with stories of devastating air raids on London. Now, we are aware that those raids did not happen. But what use would our knowledge be if the Germans conquered Britain? For the purpose of a future historian, did those raids happen, or didn’t they? The answer is: If Hitler survives, they happened, and if he falls they didn’t happen. So with innumerable other events of the past ten or twenty years. Is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion a genuine document? Did Trotsky plot with the Nazis? How many German aeroplanes were shot down in the Battle of Britain? Does Europe welcome the New Order? In no case do you get one answer which is universally accepted because it is true: in each case you get a number of totally incompatible answers, one of which is finally adopted as the result of a physical struggle. History is written by the winners.” [2].

George Orwell (1944): “The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside. Quite a number of people console themselves with this thought, now that totalitarianism in one form or another is visibly on the up-grade in every part of the world. Out in the street the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every hoarding; but up in the attics the secret enemies of the regime can record their thoughts in perfect freedom — that is the idea, more or less.” [3].

George Orwell (1944):Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.” [4].

George Orwell (1944): “Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” [5].

George Orwell (1944): “So far as I can see, all political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.” [6].

George Orwell (1945): “If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves.”  [7].

George Orwell (1945): I am well acquainted with all the arguments against freedom of thought and speech - the arguments which claim that it cannot exist, and the arguments which claim that it ought not to. I answer simply that they don't convince me and that our civilization over a period of four hundred years has been founded on the opposite notice. For quite a decade past I have believed that the existing Russian régime is a mainly evil thing, and I claim the right to say so, in spite of the fact that we are allies with the USSR in a war which I want to see won. If I had to choose a text to justify myself, I should choose the line from Milton: “By the known rules of ancient liberty”. The word ancient emphasizes the fact that intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals are visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency. And others who do not actually hold this view assent to it from sheer cowardice.” [7].

George Orwell (1945):If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” [7].

George Orwell (1945): “the three slogans of the Party:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.  [8]. 

 George Orwell (1946): If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs.” [9].

 




 [1]. George Orwell (1936), “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” (1936).

[2]. George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune (4 February 1944).

[3]. George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune (28 April 1944).

[4]. George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune (7 July 1944).

[5]. George Orwell, "Benefit Of Clergy: Some Notes On Salvador Dalí," in “Dickens, Dali & Others: Studies in Popular Culture”, (1944).

[6]. George Orwell (1944): "London Letter" (December 1944), in Partisan Review (Winter 1945).

[7]. George Orwell , Original (unused) preface to “Animal Farm” (1945); as published in “George Orwell : Some Materials for a Bibliography” (1953) by Ian R. Willison.

[8]. George Orwell, “Nineteen Eight-Four” (1949).

[9]. George Orwell, “politics and the English language”, 1946: http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit/ .

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