Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quotable Orwell

Since I posted George Orwell's Ready Reckoner early in 2009, I have found myself quoting him in so many of my posts that I've decided to offer up one quotation a week. As he wrote in his essay "Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool": "If one has once read Shakespeare with attention, it is not easy to go a day without quoting him, because there are not many subjects of major importance that he does not discuss or at least mention somewhere or other, in his unsystematic but illuminating way."

Here is something he wrote in a review of Cyril Connolly's novel The Rock Pool for the New English Weekly, 23 July 1936. (Connolly was a fellow student of Orwell's at Eton.)

The awful thraldom of money is upon everyone and there are only three immediately obvious escapes. One is religion, another is unending work, the third is the kind of sluttish antinomianism - lying in bed till four in the afternoon, drinking Pernod - that Mr. Connolly seems to admire. The third is certainly the worst, but in any case the essential evil is to think in terms of escape. The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet be fully alive.

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