“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”

“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious,”  is a paraphrased quote from George Orwell’s 1939 review of a new Bertrand Russell publication. It refers to truths that have become dangerous to utter.

The quote was paraphrased by The Adelphi in January 1939. In reviewing Russell’s book, Power: A New Social Analysis, Orwell actually made the following comment:

“If there are certain pages of Mr Bertrand Russell’s book, Power, which seem rather empty, that is merely to say that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

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George Orwell:

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by the pseudonym, George Orwell, was born on 25th June 1903 in Motihari, India.

Orwell was a journalist, essayist, novelist and self-declared democratic socialist.

His early work focussed on the destructive effects of poverty. For a time, Orwell lived as a tramp among the indigent communities of London and Paris. Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) are his major works informed by these experiences.

In 1937, Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil war on the side of the republicans. After he was shot in the throat and recuperated, he returned to England. Homage to Catalonia (1938) is an account of Orwell’s experiences in Spain. From this point, Orwell’s narratives become more clearly fixed on his abhorrence of fascism and totalitarianism.

Orwell is best remembered for his dystopian novels Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) which serve as indictments of Stalinist-type, totalitarian regimes. These works are now regarded as visionary.

Orwell succumbed to tuberculosis in London on 21st January 1950. Read More [ … ]

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