Depictions Quotes

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It doesn't take a literary detective, scanning the passage above, to notice that he is partly saying of Orwell what Orwell actually says about Gissing. This half-buried resentment can be further noticed when Williams turns to paradox. I have already insisted that Orwell contains opposites and even contradictions, but where is the paradox in a 'humane man who communicated an extreme of inhuman terror'? Where is the paradox in 'a man committed to decency who actualized a distinctive squalor'? The choice of verbs is downright odd, if not a little shady. 'Communicated'? 'Actualised'? Assuming that Williams means to refer to Nineteen Eighty-Four in the first case, which he certainly does, would it not be more precise to say that Orwell 'evoked' or even 'prefigured' or perhaps simply 'described' an extreme of inhuman terror? Yet that choice of verb, because more accurate, would be less 'paradoxical.' Because what Williams means to imply, but is not brave enough to say, is that Orwell 'invented' the picture of totalitarian collectivism. As for 'actualising' a distinctive squalor, the author of that useful book Keywords has here chosen a deliberately inexact term. He may mean Nineteen Eighty-Four again-he is obsessed with the 'gritty dust' that infests Orwell's opening passage-or he may mean the depictions of the mean and cramped (and malodorous) existence imposed on the denizens of Wigan Pier. But to 'actualise' such squalor is either to make it real-no contradiction to decency-or to make it actually occur, a suggestion which is obviously nonsensical.

Christopher Hitchens
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