The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘George Orwell’

Kafkaesque Toilet Paper, and Other News

August 15, 2013 | by

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  • Kafka cameos in a Charmin toilet paper commercial; one of those incontinent bears is a fan, apparently.
  • “But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the Führer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.” In a 1944 letter, George Orwell explains his reasons for writing 1984
  • The literally question is, in fact, more complicated than it seems; its misuse (this is known as a contronym) has been going on for centuries.
  • Pioneering Swedish crime writer Maj Sjöwall says contemporary Scandinavian thrillers are are “not about police work and crime, but very much about love and relationships—like girls’ books.”
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    Discarded Books, Fake Names, and Other News

    June 19, 2013 | by

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  • In “Expired,” photographer Kerry Mansfield works with discarded books, to eerie effect.
  • How Orwell, Voltaire, and Ann Landers chose their pen names.
  • Meet Simon Vance, the name (or voice!) in audiobooks.
  • Stephen King published Joyland with lofty, print-only intentions. But of course, it is now a pirated e-book.
  • In non-news, Barbara Taylor Bradford is less than impressed by Fifty Shades of Grey.
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    Typewriter, Tip, Tip, Tip, and Other News

    June 18, 2013 | by

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  • Behold the typewriters of famous authors.
  • Speaking of: if you have $60,000–$80,000 handy, you can buy Hemingway’s.
  • MESSAGES SENT WITHIN THE U.S. NAVY NO LONGER HAVE TO BE WRITTEN OUT IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • In other cultural upheaval news, brace yourselves for the latest OED changes.
  • The strange, amazing world of Game of Thrones fan fic.
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    The Knight’s Tale, and Other News

    June 12, 2013 | by

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    Poets Without Clothes, and Other News

    April 18, 2013 | by

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  • Talk about truth in advertising: meet Poets Without Clothes. [NSFW]
  • Check out this nifty animation of a 1996 DFW interview.
  • George Orwell’s northern Indian birthplace is being turned into a memorial … for Gandhi.
  • What are libraries doing with old books? Lots of things.
  • Pew: “About seven in ten of those who used a library over a twelve-month period did so to borrow print books or to browse the shelves.”
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    Animal Farm Timeline

    April 12, 2013 | by

    Cover of Snowball's Chance, 2002. Cover of Why Orwell Matters, 2002.

    Cover of Snowball’s Chance, 2002. Cover of Why Orwell Matters, 2002.

    Timeline to this Timeline

    September 9, 2001, I’m walking down Lafayette Street with my wife. We’re close to my apartment, with the Tribeca sky, the sky of my youth, hovering above our destination. I have a title idea. “Snowball’s Chance,” I say, “there’s something to it.” She isn’t so sure.

    Then, 9/11. Then, 9/13, I understand the title. Animal Farm. Snowball returns to the farm, bringing capitalism, which has its own pitfalls. I’ll turn the Cold War allegory on its head—apply Orwell’s thinking to what had happened in the fifty years since the end of World War II. Three weeks later I have a clean draft.

    I start to think about publication, and run into a bump: the feeling in the publishing world, in the entertainment world, is that parody is about to lose its protected status in the United States. Several major lawsuits are underway (2 Live Crew, The Wind Done Gone), copyright has been extended indefinitely for major corporations, and the Supreme Court has never looked more conservative. Given the climate, and that parody is not protected in the United Kingdom, the Orwell estate announces itself “hostile” to my manuscript. The book is nevertheless released in 2002 (by a small but longstanding press, Roof Books), and supported in part by a state grant. At the same moment I see fit to attack Animal Farm as a Cold War allegory—an allegory that I see as conservative, xenophobic, and a bludgeon for radical thinking—Christopher Hitchens, who has taken a sharp turn to the right, sees the need to defend it. In Why Orwell Matters, also published in 2002, Hitchens attempted to apply Orwell’s later-life “Cold War,” a term he popularized, to a stance against terrorism. The media picks up on Hitchens, and Snowball as a counterpoint, and the books are accordingly praised or derided.

     

    1879–1880

    Nikolai Kostomarov, Stamp of Ukraine, 1992.

    Nikolai Kostomarov, Stamp of Ukraine, 1992.

    Nikolai Kostomarov (1817–1885) pens his story Animal Riot, a farmyard allegory that takes as its analog a hypothetical Russian revolution. A century later, in 1988, the English-language Economist will compare Kostomarov’s 8,500-word story to George Orwell’s 20,000-word Russian Revolution allegory, Animal Farm (which, unlike Animal Riot, ends badly), finding numerous points of comparison. For example, a bull in Animal Riot:

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