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George Orwell and the Classics

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Burton, P (2005) George Orwell and the Classics. Classical and Modern Literature, 25 (1). pp. 53-75. ISSN 0197-2227

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Abstract

Classically trained at St. Cyprian's and Eton, George Orwell was deeply immersed in the classical tradition. His intellectual relationship to that tradition, however, was never easy or comfortable. It is, in fact, one of the few unresolved paradoxes of Orwell's intellectual life that he both disparaged classics as a snobbish and useless relic of a more benighted age but could never quite free himself from its allure. The ambivalence is striking since, of the intellectuals of his generation, Orwell was unsurpassed in his capacity for self-criticism: "as a writer," it has recently been said, "Orwell was forever taking his own temperature."! But as several documents only recently made available attest," Orwell remained ambivalent about his classical heritage, even on his deathbed.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Classical and Modern Literature
Page Range: pp. 53-75
ISSN: 0197-2227
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2008 20:58
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:28
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/3014
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