Differently from other European countries, Britain experienced the harshness of 20th-century dictatorship and censorship only obliquely, as a reflection of what was happening in several “elsewheres”, from Italy to Spain, from Germany to the Soviet Union. Yet, events such as the Spanish Civil War deeply affected a whole generation of young British writers who, after the period of elitist Modernism, were trying to reassert the political import of literature through a redefinition of the role of the artist as politically and socially engagé. Within this framework, George Orwell figures as one of the most disenchanted and lucid witnesses of this particular historical moment. In both his essays and journalistic articles, as well as in his narrative work, he continuously ponders on the relationship between political power and society on the one hand, and language and literature on the other, providing a most interesting analysis of the mechanisms that preside over this interaction. Whereas in the essayistic production, Orwell predictably addresses the issue from a more objective stand, his narrative transfigures the widespread fears connected with dictatorship and censorship into the threatening dystopias of "Animal Farm" (1945) and "Nineteen-Eighty-Four" (1948), where the worst nightmares concerning thought and language control and intellectual annihilation become true.

“A Boot Stamping on a Human Face – For Ever”: George Orwell, Language, Literature, and Politics

Ferrari R.
2020

Abstract

Differently from other European countries, Britain experienced the harshness of 20th-century dictatorship and censorship only obliquely, as a reflection of what was happening in several “elsewheres”, from Italy to Spain, from Germany to the Soviet Union. Yet, events such as the Spanish Civil War deeply affected a whole generation of young British writers who, after the period of elitist Modernism, were trying to reassert the political import of literature through a redefinition of the role of the artist as politically and socially engagé. Within this framework, George Orwell figures as one of the most disenchanted and lucid witnesses of this particular historical moment. In both his essays and journalistic articles, as well as in his narrative work, he continuously ponders on the relationship between political power and society on the one hand, and language and literature on the other, providing a most interesting analysis of the mechanisms that preside over this interaction. Whereas in the essayistic production, Orwell predictably addresses the issue from a more objective stand, his narrative transfigures the widespread fears connected with dictatorship and censorship into the threatening dystopias of "Animal Farm" (1945) and "Nineteen-Eighty-Four" (1948), where the worst nightmares concerning thought and language control and intellectual annihilation become true.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/1060105
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