As He Pleased
Plumbing the mystery of the first-person Orwell
by George Orwell
$39.95 List Price
We know from George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four that he thought of the diary as a potentially seditious form. Diaries are not illegal in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four because nothing is—Airstrip One’s legal code has been abolished. But Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, understands the consequences of committing his private thoughts and personal observations to the page well before he lifts his pen to print the words “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER.” “If detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp,” Orwell wrote. As Smith prepares to scribble his first passage, he asks himself why he’s keeping a diary, and surmises that it’s a letter to the future, to the unborn.
Diaries aren’t just generational time tunnels or rebellions
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