Literary Birthday - 25 June - George Orwell

George Orwell was born 25 June 1903, and died 21 January 1950

12 Owellian Quotes

  1. For a creative writer possession of the ‘truth’ is less important than emotional sincerity.
  2. In our time political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.
  3. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
  4. 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.
  5. Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers.
  6. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
  7. The atmosphere of orthodoxy is always damaging to prose, and above all it is completely ruinous to the novel, the most anarchical of all forms of literature.
  8. Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket.
  9. As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.
  10. Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
  11. During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
  12. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

George Orwell - His Six Rules For Writing

Orwell was an English novelist and journalist. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and the allegorical novella Animal Farm,  which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture. The term Orwellian is used in English, together with other phrases coined by the author, including Cold War, Big Brother, thought police, doublethink, and thoughtcrime.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter.


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George Orwell - On Writing

Six Questions and Six Rules

Six Questions

"A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 

  • What am I trying to say?
  • What words will express it?
  • What image or idiom will make it clearer?
  • Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And he will probably ask himself two more:

  • Could I put it more shortly?
  • Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

Six Rules

One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous."   

* Taken from Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” 

George Orwell is the author of 1984 and Animal Farm

Source: Gotham Writers

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