Winter 1954 • Vol. XVI No. 1 Nonfiction |

George Orwell and the Post-Liberal Imagination

If there were a competition for saints in which liberals could bid, George Orwell would be their man; he satisfies at once the liberal nostalgia for action and their resignation to despair. Simone Weil might be another choice. There is indeed a similarity between these two martyr figures, the frail intellectual Jewess sickening unto death in the Renault factory and the tired Etonian holding his own among the tramps; both made the futile gesture of going down among the "masses." But Orwell remained a self-conscious representative of the cultivated, and his early books are defensive reports of his spiritual encounters in the depths of society; Simone Weil had a different intention. Her reports are not on the practical level of the novel or the memoir, and they have an oversubtlety that does not quite elude the ancient religious heresy she represents which finally makes her unacceptable not only to rationalist liberals but also to the conservative religiosi. Orwell remains the most ade

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Eros Cross-Examined

By Philip Rieff

If there were a competition for saints in which liberals could bid, George Orwell would be their man; he satisfies at once the liberal nostalgia for action and their resignation […]

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