Two hands good, one typewriter bad
In college, I took a really great class on George Orwell. While I enjoyed exploring his better known works (such as Animal Farm and 1984), I was fascinated by the essays that Orwell penned about different aspects of his life.
In particular, Orwell's essay "Why I Write" resonated with me at a deep level. I read the piece again recently, and I'm still struck by his explanation of what motivated him as writer and--arguably--perhaps all writers. He says there are four main motives for writing:
These last two points do much to drive and inform my own historical novels. I don't believe in absolute truth, or in one set historical narrative. I do hope, however, to get readers to question their perceptions of society, culture, gender, power and privilege--to rethink what they think they know. While my agenda is wrapped up in what I hope is a compelling mystery, its certainly there.
I'm curious though. Do you agree with Orwell? Are books by nature political, in the widest sense of the term? Harry Potter? Twilight? The Lord of the Rings?
11/8/2012 10:50:13 pm
For most of my life, I don't think that I was a particularly critical or thoughtful reader. So, I often found that I didn't pick up on the subtleties (not not-so-subtleties) of political purpose or historical commentary. I always appreciated when people would point these things out and then I could wrestle with the ideas. Sometimes I bought the arguments, sometimes not.
Matt, I do think that some readers sometimes look for--and conveniently find--more than what the author intended. I remember one of my teachers used to find the devil in every thing we read, and then I read some of the same stuff in other classes and those teachers were completely flabbergasted when I tried to point out the obvious devil :-) I do think authors vary in their intent to be "political" but every good storyteller is trying to create a world (even if its a world we think we already know). I think every writer brings biases and perspective, but some may not probe or be overtly aware of these biases. Even if they think they are just telling a funny-romantic-scary-insert adjective story, the decisions they make in characterization, narrative, description, plot, and dialogue reveal at least some version of their worldview. But of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar...
5/5/2015 07:31:00 pm
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6/20/2019 10:47:35 pm
Very useful article, keep them coming VPN firestick
6/20/2019 11:07:40 pm
Thanks. Nice post by the way.
7/1/2019 01:56:08 am
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.
9/6/2020 11:03:54 pm
Thanks for post
10/17/2020 10:12:20 pm
Great post. Thanks
11/5/2020 06:26:45 am
Thanks for the post
11/27/2020 06:16:35 am
12/8/2020 06:25:14 am
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Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.