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Politics and the English Language

by George Orwell

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Who is the author of "Politics and the English Language"?

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The author of "Politics and the English Language" is Eric Blair, who used the pen name George Orwell.

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George Orwell, the well-known novelist, essayist, and political activist is the author of "Politics and the English Language." The name "George Orwell" is a pseudonym, or pen name, chosen by Eric Arthur Blair. One might argue, however, that the name "George Orwell" was rather more than a pen name and describes an alternative literary personality that Blair created for himself. This is the idea explored by David Caute in his novel Dr. Orwell and Mr. Blair.

Orwell himself was interested in the idea of a writer creating a "literary personality," something separate both from his own character and from his works. He explores this in his long essay on Charles Dickens, sketching the literary personality of Dickens as a good-humored, "generously angry" man. When he refers to attacks on Dickens that claimed, for instance, that the great novelist treated his wife inhumanely, Orwell says that this has nothing to do with his literary personality.

Orwell's literary personality is that of a confident, forthright thinker, a man of great honesty and mental clarity. He is intellectually curious and interested in everything, without adhering to any particular dogma. Eric Blair may not have been much like this. Indeed, according to his friends and biographers (Sir Richard Rees, for instance, and D. J. Taylor), he was not. This, however, is the literary personality he created as the author George Orwell, and it certainly comes across in his essay "Politics and the English Language," in which Orwell draws examples of bad writing from across the literary spectrum, from professors to everyday newspaper readers.

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