George Orwell

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1903 - 1950

Eric Arthur Blair was a celebrated English novelist, literary critic and journalist who wrote under the pen name George Orwell. He is most famous for the dytopian novel 1984 and the satirical Animal Farm, and much of his other work tackled similar themes of social injustice and totalitarianism. Blair died of tuberculosis at the age of 46 and is considered to be one of the greatest writers about 20th century British culture.

Blair has influenced modern English language, and in '"Politics and the English Language" he details 6 simple rules for writing:

  • Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive voice where you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
  • Many of the words he created for his novels are now vernacular, including Newspeak and Big Brother.

    QUOTES:

    "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious."

    "History is written by the winners."

    "Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it."

    "So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the Earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information."

    "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I know it."

    "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

    "The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals."

    "Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."