For those of you who don’t know…the title of this blog, “Down and Out,” is a reference to George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). I read the book shortly after I broke my ankle abroad, and I was also seriously low on cash. Low on cash, as in, buying groceries with a credit card. Right? Somehow reading Down and Out in that moment made me feel like all would be all right. When things (finances, broken bits, work, life) improved, I began this blog with a nod to Orwell, whose writing gives me some comfort in distressing times.
Other Orwell fans out there might like to read an essay published in last week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review: “Why Orwell Endures,” by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. Wheatcroft and a buddy pilgrimage to Orwell’s grave near Oxford on the sixtieth anniversary of his death, and the occasion prompts Wheatcroft to reflect on Orwell’s enduring literary reputation. The article touches on Orwell’s political influence, and it also praises him for what I like best: “the sheer originality of what Orwell says.” I agree with Wheatcroft: “…whenever you dig into him you will hit a nugget of golden wisdom.” It’s true. Whether you decide to read Wheatcroft’s article or dig deeper into Orwell himself, I hope your exploration is good like that, good like striking gold.
In the February 12, 2010 New York Times Sunday Book Review:
“Why Orwell Endures,” by Geoffrey Wheatcroft.
Photo credit: from www.george-orwell.org