G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

George Orwell...Defeated and Broken up by Life?

Today January 21 2014 is 64th Death Anniversary of George Orwell

Orwell wrote in his famous essay on Mahatma Gandhi, 'Reflections on Gandhi', first published January 1949:

"...The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals..."

How was Orwell's own journey through his final illness and eventual death?

Andrew Ferguson reviews 'George Orwell: A Life in Letters' Selected and Annotated by Peter Davison for Spectator,  October 2013:

"...But nothing I know of offers a clearer picture of Orwell’s disorientation than a harrowing letter he wrote to a young, pretty art student who for a time lived in a flat beneath his.

He opens with an apology: “You are very beautiful…[and] it’s scandalous that a person like me should make advances to a person like you, and yet I thought from your appearance that you were…a person who lived chiefly through the intellect and might become interested in a man who is much older and not much good physically.”

It’s clear she wasn’t interested, but Orwell soldiers on, reassuring her with testimony to his ill health and foreshortened life expectancy: “What I am really asking you is whether you would like to be the widow of literary man.” There will be royalties to collect, he says, and lots of “unpublished stuff” to edit posthumously.

“It isn’t so much a question of someone to sleep with, though of course I want that too.” And because “I am also sterile, I think,” she would be free to find a “handsome young man” with whom she could have children. “I have very little physical jealousy.”
“You say you wouldn’t be likely to love me. I don’t see how you could be expected to.” No, he goes on, “I want peace and quiet and someone to be fond of me.”

As prose, I think, this comes as close as possible to transparency, laying bare grief, loneliness, lust, neediness…or is it guile? In any case, for a reader who honors Orwell as both a man and an artist, it is almost too painful to bear, and a reminder of why we should be grateful that good prose is never like a window pane..."


Would you call this  "defeated and broken up by life"? I would and I feel  it's inevitable.

  Artist: Whitney Darrow,  Jr., The New Yorker, 4 November 1950

(Just a coincidence but note that the cartoon belongs to the year Mr. Orwell died.)

Caption can also be read as:

"What I am really asking you is whether you would like to be the widow of literary man. There will be royalties to collect..."

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