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George Orwell Quotations

George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair (1903-50) an English novelist and journalist. He is much known for Animal Farm and 1984. Like George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley and Arthur Koestler, "Orwell believed that mankind had to reject a centrally controlled republic, . . . because there was no room for individuality in such a system." (Nuwayser 1962, 56)

Orwell was profoundly aware of social injustice and had a passion for honest and clear language, among other things. He enjoyed fishing, and also liked to carry out practical jokes.

Orwell quotations and extracts follow.

1. Writing - a struggle

George Orwell, 1933
Eric Arthur Blair's pen name: George Orwell
Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle. - George Orwell, abr.

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious. - George Orwell

Big Brother is Watching You. - George Orwell, 1984

Man . . . cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. - George Orwell, Animal Farm.

2. Who is telling clearly, may be committed to remarkable heroism

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. - George Orwell

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

The ordinary man . . . feels himself master of his fate, but . . . far from endeavouring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.

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

To a surprising extent the war-lords in shining armour . . . tend not to die fighting when the time comes.

When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

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

3. Some sleep tight because rough men rattle, others keep dogs to that end

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. - George Orwell

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. - George Orwell


Some keep dogs to be able to sleep tight. Men dedicated to telling truths may sleep tight too, if shielded well enough.

Writing a book is obviously not tackling things (running) fast.

It is probably not a revolutionary act that matters if many love to read it.

Writing and reading do not really have to be constant struggle. Authors may get inspired too.


George Orwell quotations, Orwell quoted, Literature  

Nuwayser, Ruth Anne Kurani. 1962. "Orwell's warnings: a study of George Orwell's purpose in writing" (1962). Master's Thesis at University of Richmond. -- "Orwell insisted that a socialist government could be democratic." (p. 53)

Orwell, Sonia, and Ian Angus, eds. 1970. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell: Volume II: My Country Right or Left 1940-1943. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books. -- The second of four volumes of non-fictional Orwell essays.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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