"An extremely shrewd and timely article", said Mr John Lehmann about the
chapter of this book on prose in relation to politics which appeared in The
Mr Brander presents George Orwell as pre-eminently a man of our time, fiercely
dedicated to the fight against totalitarianism while refusing to observe
those nice distinctions between one form of tyranny and another which so
many intellectuals are prone to make according to their political allegiances.
In Wigan Pier
Orwell attacked the Socialists as much in anger as in
sorrow, and he went even further in 1984
, being extremely apprehensive
about the possibilities of power-propaganda through the machinery available
to the man of the twentieth century.
Orwell's assaults on Communism are famous, but the force of his vigorous
arguments can be appreciated to the full only if the various essays are considered
along with the better known works.
Mr Brander points out that Orwell wrote about literature as he wrote about
other topics: as a patient observer looking on from a neutral and critical
standpoint. His panache lay in being always a political man writing in a
political age, and in the controlled economy of words used to achieve tremendous
impact when shot from a prodigiously well-stored memory. This, too, was a
memory packed not only with the absorbed treasures of literature, but also
the fruits of wide and active experience in the world of men.
Mr Brander's consideration of Orwell's views and writings covers his subject's
attitude to most facets of human activity. This book is the result of deep
study, deep thought and personal association, and constitutes a most important
contribution to an understanding of Orwell and, through him, to one clear
conception (clear , whether right or wrong) of the complex, tortured era
we live in.
Mr Brander has travelled widely and has devoted his own life to letters.
During twelve years in India before the war he lectured on English literature
and wrote books that were published there. He was in Britain when war broke
out and worked for the B.B.C. He and George Orwell were collaborators in
the production of literary broadcasts to India during this period. Mr Brander
is now Director of Publications for the British Council.