Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Orwell's "Blog"

"As the corpse went past the flies left the restaurant table in a cloud and rushed after it, but they came back a few minutes later."

So began George Orwell's essay "Marrakech." He wrote it in the spring of 1939, as Europe, and ultimately the world, slid into war.

I cite the essay because it sprang from remarkable writing by Orwell that can now be found on line as Orwell's "blog."

The Orwell Prize is posting "Orwell's Diary" entries day by day as he wrote them 70 years ago. "Visitors" to the blog find Orwell writing in mid-September about Morocco. Orwell and his wife, Eileen, stayed in the French colony for a year while he recovered from being shot in the throat during the Spanish Civil War.

He wrote "Marrakech" in the spring of 1939 so I anticipate that snippets of the essay will turn up in his journal entries before our own spring of 2009.

Like the diary entries of Thoreau, another avid journal writer, many Orwell entries are detailed botanical and biological observations. You could probably write about book titled "Orwell, the naturalist" based on his journal and many of his less well-known essays. You could certainly do that, if it hasn't been done, for Thoreau.

The publishers of the "Orwell's Diary" assure us in their comments and notes that politics become more prominent in journal as the war grows near.

As with other blogs, readers are invited to comment. Some are elated to feel the immediacy of Orwell's writing in blog form. Others are clearly frustrated that, so far at least, there is so little evidence of the kind of insightful writing, and thinking, found in "1984."

As I read these entries, I see Orwell at that restaurant table, writing in his journal, swatting away flies. They are the same flies that trail the corpse before buzzing back to the writer's table. We'll see whether he made note of them in his journal.

Noted or not, they were there and came to be the kind of telling detail that marked Orwell's masterful work.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

That is an astounding find! Thanks for sharing it.

6:58 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home