George Orwell quotes

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George Orwell

Birthdate: 25. June 1903
Date of death: 21. January 1950

Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.

Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four . His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier , documenting his experience of working class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia , an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, are widely acclaimed, as are his essays on politics, literature, language, and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian – descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices – has entered the language together with many of his neologisms, including Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, newspeak, doublethink, proles, unperson, and thoughtcrime.

Works

1984
1984
George Orwell
Animal Farm
Animal Farm
George Orwell

„A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible.“

—  George Orwell

"The Prevention of Literature" (1946)
Context: A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened. Then, again, every major change in policy demands a corresponding change of doctrine and a revaluation of prominent historical figures.

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

—  George Orwell, book Animal Farm

Sometimes paraphrased as "Liberty is telling people what they do not want to hear."
Variant: Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Source: Original preface to Animal Farm; as published in George Orwell: Some Materials for a Bibliography (1953) by Ian R. Willison

„Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.“

—  George Orwell, book Politics and the English Language

"Politics and the English Language" (1946)
Context: 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.

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

—  George Orwell

Review of A Coat of Many Colours: Occasional Essays by Herbert Read, Poetry Quarterly (Winter 1945)
Context: Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. This is an illusion, and one should recognise it as such, but one ought also to stick to one's own world-view, even at the price of seeming old-fashioned: for that world-view springs out of experiences that the younger generation has not had, and to abandon it is to kill one's intellectual roots.

„If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.“

—  George Orwell, book 1984

Variant: For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.
Source: 1984

„But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.“

—  George Orwell, book 1984

"Politics and the English Language" (1946)
Source: 1984
Context: But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.
Context: All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find — this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify — that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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