[Marxism] T.S. Eliot said no to 'Animal Farm'

Paul Flewers rfls12802 at blueyonder.co.uk
Sat Apr 4 04:50:54 MDT 2009


Eli S cited: 'A newly-released letter shows that US-born poet T.S. Eliot
refused to publish George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' for its Trotskyite
politics.'

If only Orwell's little book was written from a Trotskyist viewpoint. When I
read Animal Farm at school, along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, it was
explained to us that Orwell was trying to state that revolutions would only
throw up a new élite; and there wasn't much evidence in either book to show
that Orwell meant otherwise. And now after studying Orwell at some length, I
can see how both books have been purloined by Orwell's enemies.

Orwell later explained to Dwight Macdonald that the former book was written
to show that if workers stage a revolution, they must keep hold of it
themselves, or they will lose power to a new élite. He subsequently defended
his intention for Nineteen Eighty-Four against those who used it as an
anti-socialist device. But the books continued to be used as a weapon
against the left, and Orwell's actual standpoint has been ignored or
distorted. As I wrote a few years back:

'But some of the responsibility must rest with Orwell himself. Considering
that he felt obliged to defend Nineteen Eighty-Four against left-wing
criticisms that it played into the hands of the right only shortly after he
had been forced to do likewise with Animal Farm, one cannot help thinking,
to paraphrase Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell, that if coming a cropper once is
a misfortune, doing it twice looks decidedly like carelessness.'

Orwell was not a Trotskyist, and that is one reason why he was unable to
show how the Russian revolution ended up with Stalinism. And that inability
is why his last two works of fiction have been championed by practically
every anti-socialist commentator since their publication.

Paul F







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