Socialist Worker

Orwell - Politics and the English Language

Published Tue 15 Jan 2013
Issue No. 2336

One of Orwell’s writings being rereleased as a cheap pamphlet is the Politics and the English Language.

Orwell’s hatred of cliché and carelessness in expression comes from his conviction that clarity of language is necessary for clear thinking.

And that clear thinking is essential to a healthy society.

Orwell goes beyond a concern for straight as against crooked or muddled thinking.

He wants good prose to have a force and a dignity. This sounds a bit pompous. But there is ruthlessness in Orwell’s rules for simple prose.

Orwell often conflates truth, language and moral integrity. It has limitations, but as a guide to writing political language and an argument against hypocrisy it is without parallel.

All of Orwell’s main writings, including Politics and the English Language, are available from Bookmarks. Go to

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Tue 15 Jan 2013, 16:32 GMT
Issue No. 2336
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