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In the same essay, Said (who is reviewing Peter Stansky and William Abrams, co-authors obsessed with the Blair/Orwell distinction) congratulates them on their forceful use of tautology: 'Orwell belonged to the category of writers who write.' And could afford to write, they might have added. In contrast they speak of George Garrett, whom Orwell met in Liverpool, a gifted writer, seaman, dockworker, Communist militant, 'the plain facts of [whose] situation-on the dole, married and with kids, the family crowded into two rooms-made it impossible for him to attempt any extended piece of writing.' Orwell's writing life then was from the start an affirmation of unexamined bourgeois values. This is rather extraordinary. Orwell did indeed meet Garrett in Liverpool in 1936, and was highly impressed to find that he knew him already through his pseudonymous writing-under the name Matt Lowe-for John Middleton Murry's Adelphi. As he told his diary: I urged him to write his autobiography, but as usual, living in about two rooms on the dole with a wife (who I gather objects to his writing) and a number of kids, he finds it impossible to settle to any long work and can only do short stories. Apart from the enormous unemployment in Liverpool, it is almost impossible for him to get work because he is blacklisted everywhere as a Communist. Thus the evidence that supposedly shames Orwell by contrast is in fact supplied by-none other than Orwell himself! This is only slightly better than the other habit of his foes, which is to attack him for things he quotes other people as saying, as if he had instead said them himself. (The idea that a writer must be able to 'afford' to write is somewhat different and, as an idea, is somewhat-to use a vogue term of the New Left-'problematic'. If it were only the bourgeois who were able to write, much work would never have been penned and, incidentally, Orwell would never have met Garrett in the first place.)

Christopher Hitchens
in-same-essay-said-who-is-reviewing-peter-stansky-william-abrams-coauthors-obsessed-with-blairorwell-distinction-congratulates-them-on-their-forceful-use-tautology-orwell-belonge
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