September 16, 2002

David Brooks, on Christophe...

David Brooks, on Christopher Hitchens on George Orwell: Sneak preview:

At this moment, oddly enough, Hitchens matters more than Orwell.

Posted by at September 16, 2002 12:33 AM
Comments

Brooks, like many reviewers, uses the title "Why Orwell Matters" as a jumping-off point to question whether Hitchens' book really shows that Orwell "matters." This is really a red herring. The British edition of the book is called "Orwell's Victory," the point (by my reading) being that Orwell successfully negotiated the moral and ideological minefields of his time. The American title "Why Orwell Matters" is in some ways a better title and in some ways worse: it gives you a better idea of what the book is like ("Orwell's Victory" could be historical fiction or even poetry) but it's unfortunately imprecise.

Posted by: alkali at September 16, 2002 09:17 AM

Alkali -- Did you read the book? If so, what did you think?

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 16, 2002 10:29 AM

I did a few months ago when it came out in Britain (Amazon UK is the Anglophile's friend). The Brooks review is on target, up to a point: too much of the book seems to fight out battles which were won a long time ago. That having been said, I did enjoy it, as I'm a fan of both and Orwell and Hitchens.

(That seems strange to say now that I see it in print: while I enjoy Hitchens' writing, Orwell could be a saint as far as I'm concerned. If I had my druthers, everyone who thinks 1984 is the greatest book ever would read The Road To Wigan Pier, and vice versa.)

Posted by: alkali at September 16, 2002 04:00 PM

Yup, thumbs up on Orwell. Wigan Pier is great, so is Orwell's essay on Gandhi and pacifism. The guy just went out and hit homers every time.

Posted by: Joe Giles at September 20, 2002 12:04 PM
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At this moment, oddly enough, Hitchens matters more than Orwell.

Posted by at September 16, 2002 12:33 AM
Comments

Brooks, like many reviewers, uses the title "Why Orwell Matters" as a jumping-off point to question whether Hitchens' book really shows that Orwell "matters." This is really a red herring. The British edition of the book is called "Orwell's Victory," the point (by my reading) being that Orwell successfully negotiated the moral and ideological minefields of his time. The American title "Why Orwell Matters" is in some ways a better title and in some ways worse: it gives you a better idea of what the book is like ("Orwell's Victory" could be historical fiction or even poetry) but it's unfortunately imprecise.

Posted by: alkali at September 16, 2002 09:17 AM

Alkali -- Did you read the book? If so, what did you think?

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 16, 2002 10:29 AM

I did a few months ago when it came out in Britain (Amazon UK is the Anglophile's friend). The Brooks review is on target, up to a point: too much of the book seems to fight out battles which were won a long time ago. That having been said, I did enjoy it, as I'm a fan of both and Orwell and Hitchens.

(That seems strange to say now that I see it in print: while I enjoy Hitchens' writing, Orwell could be a saint as far as I'm concerned. If I had my druthers, everyone who thinks 1984 is the greatest book ever would read The Road To Wigan Pier, and vice versa.)

Posted by: alkali at September 16, 2002 04:00 PM

Yup, thumbs up on Orwell. Wigan Pier is great, so is Orwell's essay on Gandhi and pacifism. The guy just went out and hit homers every time.

Posted by: Joe Giles at September 20, 2002 12:04 PM
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