Why does George Orwell write?

January 26, 2011 — Leave a comment

While we’re on the subject . . . here’s a bit of what George Orwell says about why he writes.

From his essay, “Why I Write”:

Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one…

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement…

(iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity…

(iv) Political purpose.–Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.

Click the link above for the rest of the article.

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