The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of 'St. George' Orwell

John Rodden, Author Oxford University Press, USA $29.95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-19-503954-2
George Orwell (Eric Blair, 1903-1950) didn't care ``tuppence for the opinion of posterity.'' Yet his early death soon after the appearance of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four made him especially inviting for canonization as an intellectual hero. In this impressive, wide-ranging cultural investigation, Univ. of Virginia professor Rodden brilliantly examines Orwell's reputation as a rebel, common man, prophet and saint from a variety of critical standpoints: political, national, professional, cultural, religious, gender and generational. Truth-teller, plain man, vehement devil's advocate and pragmatist, socialist and anti-communist, Orwell, shows Rodden, was ``the Zelig of modern intellectuals''--a human kaleidoscope whose variegated imagery has represented nearly all things to all people. Particularly interesting here are the detailed analyses of the ``impassioned responses'' to Orwell of literary critics Lionel Trilling, V. S. Pritchett and Irving Howe, British Marxist Raymond Williams, neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, English Catholics Christopher Hollis and Brian Wicker. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-19-506711-8
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