WHY WRITE…?

January 29th, 2013

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes. — George Orwell’s lede to Politics and the English Language, 1946

One Response to “WHY WRITE…?”

  1. Jeff Hess says:

    Good morning all,

    The nut of Orwell’s essay is this: the writer must strive for precision and a freshness of imagery.

    I am, at present, reading Francis Flaherty’s The Elements of Story, Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing and it seems to me that Flaherty seeks in his brief essays to reinforce Orwells simple and precise message.

    His writing is delightful, but Orwell remains the Master.

    Do all you can to make today a good day,

    Jeff

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