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

„Trust a snake before a Jew and a Jew before a Greek, but don't trust an Armenian“

—  George Orwell, book Down and Out in Paris and London

Source: Down and out in Paris and London (1933), Ch. 13
Source: Down and Out in Paris and London
Context: I only realized during my last week that I was being cheated, and, as I could prove nothing, only twenty-five francs were refunded. The doorkeeper played similar tricks on any employee who was fool enough to be taken in. He called himself a Greek, but in reality he was an Armenian. After knowing him I saw the force of the proverb "Trust a snake before a Jew and a Jew before a Greek, but don't trust an Armenian."

„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.

„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

„The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.“

—  George Orwell

This has been attributed to Orwell on the internet, but the earliest source citing him as author appears to be a post from Jsnip4 on the RealistNews.net forum (15 February 2011) http://www.realistnews.net/Thread-realist-news-was-the-capital-gains-tax-just-removed-regarding-bullion. Prior to this, the statement occurred, without attribution to Orwell, in an opinion piece by columnist Selwyn Duke http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/duke/090506, "Stopping Truth At The Border: Banning Michael Savage From Britain" (6 May 2009) https://web.archive.org/web/20150701002957/http://www.conservativecrusader.com/articles/stopping-truth-at-the-border-banning-michael-savage-from-britain.
Misattributed

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„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.

„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

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

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