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Extra resources for George Orwell: The Age’s Adversary
II Both in style and subject matter the verdict on Orwell's honesty is still, it seems, disconcertingly open. Given, however, Orwell's assumption that we are all biased, the man who calls attention to his own prejudice is as near to honesty as being human allows. Orwell denies the possibility of a serious book on the Spanish War which is not also a work of propaganda, for no privilegd, objective observer sits serenely above the battle 38 Part One: The Man (Homage, p. 153; CEJL, I, 26; III, 109-10).
There are no prizes for guessing an identity that style and content together so openly confess- who else could it be but George Orwell? The style is so unmistakably the man: doggedly unrhetorical, clinically detached even in a matter so agonisingly personal (remember his description, neutral as a police notebook, ofbeing wounded in Spain), resolute against any histrionic hint, with the slangily anti-heroic form intimidating the potentially embarrassing valour of the substance. The substance, too, is like a signature, exhibiting the plain-speaker who demands above all a reciprocal clarity, 'a clear idea' and a straight answer.
Yet he himselfuses an identical argument to ridicule the reverence paid to scientists pontificating on social and political questions- what, coming from others, is casuistry becomes in his own mouth the most obvious commonsense (IV, 27-8). Celimene's accusation cannot simply be dismissed as baseless. More fundamental is the charge that there is an inauthenticity at the core of the proclaimed sincerity. We can ignore such criticism when it stoops to the scandalous nadir of representing him as rushing to make his fortune from capitalist publishers with a couple of horror comics maligning the Revolution.