- “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
- ‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’
- “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”
- “You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for 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.”
- “Intellectual honesty is a crime in any totalitarian country, but even in England it is not exactly profitable to speak and write the truth.”
- “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”
- “Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness.”
- “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
- “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
Mini Bio: Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell)
Eric Arthur Blair (better known by the pseudonym, George Orwell) was a renowned English novelist, essayist, journalist, and social critic who employed lucid prose to oppose totalitarianism. He was born into a lower-middle-class family in Bengal on 25th June 1903. His father was a minor British official in the Indian Civil Service, and his mother was the daughter of an unsuccessful French, teak merchant.
Blair was educated in England and left at nineteen to join the Indian Imperial Police Force in Burma. He resigned in 1928 when he was twenty-four to become a writer. He later said he felt guilty about his role as an imperialist in Burma, and he began to turn his attention to the circumstances of oppressed people in his own country too.
Blair’s work had an early and significant influence on ‘cultural studies’ and ‘post-colonial studies’. His research on unemployment, poverty, and oppression took him from England to France and then, most notably, Spain where he was shot in the throat by the fascist militia. These experiences, his abhorrence of fascism, and his empathy for the oppressed and impoverished shaped his writing.
Blair died of tuberculosis in London on 21st January 1950. He was forty-six. He is best remembered for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, a prophetic novel about a dystopian future where truth and facts are manipulated by a totalitarian regime whose version of history is constantly changing.
Today, Blair’s work remains influential and terms he coined such as ‘Orwellian’, ‘Big Brother’, ‘Thought Police’, ‘Proles’, and ‘Unperson’ have been embraced by popular culture.