George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation (Google eBook)

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 510 pages
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"A remarkably thorough examination of how Orwell's reputation has grown over the four decades since his death.This is a book that all future Orwell scholars will need to consult and take into account."-New York Times

"The most remarkable book I have yet read on how reputations come into being.A pioneer work in its genre, teaching us how little fame is usually dependent on the nature of a writer's achievement."-Toronto Globe and Mail

The making of literary reputations is as much a reflection of a writer's surrounding culture and politics as it is of the intrinsic quality and importance of his work. The current stature of George Orwell, commonly recognized as the foremost political journalist and essayist of the century, provides a notable instance of a writer whose legacy has been claimed from a host of contending political interests. The exemplary clarity and force of his style, the rectitude of his political judgment along with his personal integrity have made him, as he famously noted of Dickens, a writer well worth stealing. Thus, the intellectual battles over Orwell's posthumous career point up ambiguities in Orwell's own work as they do in the motives of his would-be heirs. John Rodden's George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation, breaks new ground in bringing Orwell's work into proper focus while providing much original insight into the phenomenon of literary fame.

Rodden's intent is to clarify who Orwell was as a writer during his lifetime and who he became after his death. He explores the dichotomies between the novelist and the essayist, the socialist and the anti-communist and the contrast between his day-to-day activities as a journalist and his latter-day elevation to political prophet and secular saint. Rodden's approach is both contextual and textual, analyzing available reception materials on Orwell along with audiences and publications decisive for shaping his reputation. He then offers a detailed historical and biographical interpretation of the reception scene analyzing how and why did individuals and audiences cast Orwell in their own images and how these projected images served their own political needs and aspirations. Examined here are the views of Orwell as quixotic moralist, socialist renegade, anarchist, English patriot, neo-conservative, forerunner of cultural studies, and even media and commercial star. Rodden concludes with a consideration of the meaning of Orwell's life and work for the future.

John Rodden is professor of rhetoric at the University of Texas at Austin.
  

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Contents

Orwell into the Nineties
15
Terms of Repute Conditions Constraints
53
3 A Critical Perspective
67
ii Between Literary Figure and Institutional Reader
73
iii Identification and Identity VI
84
iv The Reading Experience and the Writers Public Image VIII
90
Distinctive Features IX
93
Images of Orwell XI
98
12 A Sexist After All? The Feminists Orwell
211
13 Critic and Object of Popular Culture
226
The Prophet
244
15 If Orwell Were Alive Today
261
Orwell on the Telescreen
273
West Germanys Orwell
288
TR Fyvel and the Tribune writers Orwell
303
The Saint
322

The Portrait Gallery
101
The Rebel
103
Orwell As Don Quixote
121
Orwells Compartmentalized Life
134
The History of Orwell Biography
141
George Woodcock and the Anarchists Orwell
153
The Common Man
171
Raymond Williams and the British Marxists Orwell
188
The Soviet Unions Orwell
200
Irving Howe Norman Podhoretz and the New York Intellectuals Orwell
336
Christopher Mollis Brian Wicker and the British Catholics Orwell
362
Orwell in the Classroom
382
Tuppence for the Opinion of Posterity The Intellectual Hero in History
399
Acknowledgments
406
Notes
407
A Glossary
465
Index
497
Copyright

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