George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation
"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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Terms of Repute Conditions Constraints
3 A Critical Perspective
ii Between Literary Figure and Institutional Reader
iii Identification and Identity VI
iv The Reading Experience and the Writers Public Image VIII
Distinctive Features IX
Images of Orwell XI
12 A Sexist After All? The Feminists Orwell
13 Critic and Object of Popular Culture
15 If Orwell Were Alive Today
Orwell on the Telescreen
West Germanys Orwell
TR Fyvel and the Tribune writers Orwell
The Portrait Gallery
Orwell As Don Quixote
Orwells Compartmentalized Life
The History of Orwell Biography
George Woodcock and the Anarchists Orwell
The Common Man
Raymond Williams and the British Marxists Orwell
The Soviet Unions Orwell
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admirers aesthetic American anarchist Animal Farm anti-Communist Atkins audiences authoritative voice Bernard Crick Big Brother biography Blair British canon Catholic CEJL characterization claim common Communist Crick critics Crystal Spirit decade early English face Farm and Nineteen feminist fiction figure friends Fyvel George Orwell George Woodcock German Hollis Homage to Catalonia Howe's Ibid ideological image of Orwell institutional reader issues January journalism Julian Symons Koestler Left liberal Lionel Trilling literary reputation literature London Marxist neoconservatives Newspeak Nineteen Eighty-Four Norman Podhoretz novel Orwell's reception Orwell's reputation Orwellian Partisan Review Party Podhoretz political popular culture portrait posthumous postwar Pritchett prophet prose Quixote radiation radical Raymond Williams rebel reception act reception history reception scene response rhetoric of reception Rosenblum Collection saint social socialist Soviet Symons tion totalitarian tradition Tribune Trilling Trilling's truth watchwords well's Wicker Wigan Pier Woodcock writer wrote York Intellectuals Zionism