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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Graves & Orwell, also St. Peter
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 07:30:20 


Why don't you see if your friend who wrote the St. Peter paper for Kessel
can send it to you as an email attachment? Then you could forward it to
those of us who would like to read it, me for instance.

> 1984 isn't obscure, but most of his best writing (Road to Wigan Pier &
>the essays in general) is.  1984 is an important book, but it isn't all
>well written, except for a spots here and there (the opening and the
> I wonder why it happened to Orwell.  To bring us on topic, Wolfe's
>talked about his two favorites, also far more obscure than they deserve to
>Kipling and Chesterton.  You can see political/social agendas lurking
>those falls from critical favor, but that really shouldn't hurt Orwell--I
>having argued with Gollancz and criticized Shaw and the Webbs isn't exactly
>cause for blacklisting now that nobody defends Stalin...

I don't think Orwell is as forgotten as you think. Check out Amazon.
Literally dozens of editions of Animal Farm and 1984. Half a dozen
biographies within the last 20 years. Oodles of Cliff notes and the rest.
And I frequently run into an essay on him in some place like The New York
Review of Books. The last one was pretty recent, and the essayist argued
that his best book was Homage to Catalonia and his worst (which he admitted)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying. But even that is still in print. Serious
journalists still study Orwell for form, as well they might. Especially for
war coverage. I'd bet anyone that Roger Cohen, researching his new book on
Bosnia that is getting such raves, read Orwell.

I'd also argue that Graves still lives. Anyone interested in mythology at
all has Greek Myths on the shelf (and learns how to read it---the salt
cellar must remain nearby), while The White Goddess practically gave birth
to the New Age goddess movement--it has never been out of print. Masterpiece
Theater kept the Claudius books alive. Aside from these, he may not be as
current as Orwell, but he's certainly hanging in and perhaps will make a
comeback once he's in public domain.

Chesterton and Kipling are both in public domain now, and there's a
surprising amount of them out there. Kipling will obviously live forever as
a children's writer---once you pass the portal in that field you're
immortal. There's still a sort of cloud hanging over him as an "imperialist"
otherwise, though I've never bought that. To me, Kipling is alive, but I
have doubts about Chesterton. (I've never read -The Man Who Was Thursday-


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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