George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation

George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation

by John Rodden
     
 

ISBN-10: 076580896X

ISBN-13: 9780765808967

Pub. Date: 01/24/2002

Publisher: Transaction Publishers

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765808967
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
01/24/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
510
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.08(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Editionix
Prefacexvii
Introduction: Appraising Famous Men: Mediating Biography and Society3
Part 1.Anatomy of Reputation
Chapter 1.Orwell into the Nineties15
1.Reputation, Legacy, Historiography15
Chapter 2.Terms of Repute: Conditions, Constraints53
2.Literary Studies and the Problem of Reputation53
3.A Critical Perspective67
i.From Aesthetic to Rhetoric67
ii.Between Literary Figure and Institutional Reader73
iii.Identification and Identity84
iv.The Reading Experience and the Writer's Public Image90
v.Approaching Orwell's Reputation: Distinctive Features93
vi."The Faces Behind the Page": Images of Orwell98
Part 2.The Portrait Gallery
Chapter 3.The Rebel103
4.A Rebel's Progress103
5."Knight Errant of Social Justice": Orwell as Don Quixote121
6."Permanent Outsider" Among Friends: Orwell's Compartmentalized Life134
7.Lives of Independence: The History of Orwell Biography141
8."Always Fighting Against Something": George Woodcock and the Anarchists' Orwell153
Chapter 4.The Common Man171
9.Decency and Democracy: The Aspiring Plebeian171
10."An Ex-Socialist": Raymond Williams and the British Marxists' Orwell188
11."Enemy of Mankind?": The Soviet Union's Orwell200
12."A Sexist After All?": The Feminists' Orwell211
13.Critic and Object of Popular Culture226
Chapter 5.The Prophet244
14.Author of the book244
15."If Orwell Were Alive Today...,"261
16."Media Prophet": Orwell on the Telescreen273
17.The Spectre of Der Grosse Bruder: West Germany's Orwell288
18."Friend and Prophet": T.R. Fyvel and the Tribune writers' Orwell303
Chapter 6.The Saint322
19.'St. George,' The Halfway Saint322
20.Socialist "intellectual hero," neoconservative "guiding spirit": Irving Howe, Norman Podhoretz, and the New York Intellectuals' Orwell336
21.The Religious Fellow-Traveler: Christopher Hollis, Brian Wicker, and the British Catholics' Orwell362
22.Canonization and the Curriculum: Orwell in the Classroom382
Conclusion: "Tuppence for the Opinion of Posterity": The Intellectual Hero in History399
Acknowledgments406
Notes407
Terms of Repute: A Glossary465
Index497

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