Quotes By Why I Write

“So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.”


“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, 'I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”


“All the papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.”


“In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues....”


“I had the lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.”


“Here one comes upon an all-important English trait: the respect for constituitionalism and legality, the belief in 'the law' as something above the state and above the individual, something which is cruel and stupid, of course, but at any rate incorruptible.
It is not that anyone imagines the law to be just. Everyone knows that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. But no one accepts the implications of this, everyone takes for granted that the law, such as it is, will be respected, and feels a sense of outrage when it is not. Remarks like 'They can't run me in; I haven't done anything wrong', or 'They can't do that; it's against the law', are part of the atmosphere of England. The professed enemies of society have this feeling as strongly as anyone else. One sees it in prison-books like Wilfred Macartney's Walls Have Mouths or Jim Phelan's Jail Journey, in the solemn idiocies that take places at the trials of conscientious objectors, in letters to the papers from eminent Marxist professors, pointing out that this or that is a 'miscarriage of British justice'. Everyone believes in his heart that the law can be, ought to be, and, on the whole, will be impartially administered. The totalitarian idea that there is no such thing as law, there is only power, has never taken root. Even the intelligentsia have only accepted it in theory.
An illusion can become a half-truth, a mask can alter the expression of a face. The familiar arguments to the effect that democracy is 'just the same as' or 'just as bad as' totalitarianism never take account of this fact. All such arguments boil down to saying that half a loaf is the same as no bread. In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are powerful illusions. The belief in them influences conduct,national life is different because of them. In proof of which, look about you. Where are the rubber truncheons, where is the caster oil?
The sword is still in the scabbard, and while it stays corruption cannot go beyond a certain point. The English electoral system, for instance, is an all but open fraud. In a dozen obvious ways it is gerrymandered in the interest of the moneyed class. But until some deep change has occurred in the public mind, it cannot become completely corrupt. You do not arrive at the polling booth to find men with revolvers telling you which way to vote, nor are the votes miscounted, nor is there any direct bribery. Even hypocrisy is powerful safeguard. The hanging judge, that evil old man in scarlet robe and horse-hair wig,whom nothing short of dynamite will ever teach what century he is living in, but who will at any rate interpret the law according to the books and will in no circumstances take a money bribe,is one of the symbolic figures of England. He is a symbol of the strange mixture of reality and illusion, democracy and privilege, humbug and decency, the subtle network of compromises, by which the nation keeps itself in its familiar shape.”


“England is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare's much-quoted message, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control - that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”


“If you have no money, men won't care for you, women won't love you; won't, that is, care for you or love you the last little bit that matters.”


“أعتقد أن هناك أربع دوافع للكتاب:
1- حب الذات الصرف: الرغبة في أن تكون ذكيًا، أن يتم الحديث عنك، أن تُذكر بعد الموت، أن تنتقم من الكبار الذين وبخوك في طفولتك.
2- الحماس الجمالي: إدراك الجمال في العالم الخارجي، أو من ناحية أخرى في الكلمات وترتيبها الصحيح. البهجة من أثر صوت واحدٍ على الآخر. في تماسك النثر الجيد أو إيقاع قصة جيدة
3- الحافز التاريخي: الرغبة في رؤية الأشياء كما هي لإكتشاف حقائق صحيحة وحفظها من أجل استخدام الأجيال القادمة.
4- الهدف السياسي: الرغبة في دفع العالم في إتجاه معين لتغيير أفكار الآخرين حول نوع المجتمع الذي ينبغي عليهم السعي نحوه”


“England is the most class-ridden country under the sun. It is a land of snobbery and privilege, ruled largely by the old and silly.”


“[T]he more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity.”


“I do not think one can assess a writer's motives without knowing something of his early development. His subject matter will be determined by the age he lives in... but before he ever begins to write he will have acquired an emotional attitude from which he will never completely escape. It is his job, no doubt, to discipline his temperament and avoid getting stuck at some immature stage, in some perverse mood; but if he escapes from his early influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write.”


“Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.”


“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”


“Never use the passive where you can use the active.”


“No book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”


“An army of unemployed led by millionaires quoting the Sermon on the Mount—that is our danger.”


“I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.”


“... the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea-leaves blocking a sink.”


“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”


“The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they abandon individual ambition—in many cases, indeed, they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all—and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery.”


“I am not able, and I do not want, completely to abandon the worldview that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, to take pleasure in solid objects and scrapes of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.”


“It is bound to be a failure, every book is a failure, but I do know with some clarity what kind of book I want to write.”


“An illusion can become a half-truth, a mask can alter the expression of a face.”


“Quite apart from anything else, the rule of money sees to it that we shall be governed largely by the old—that is, by people utterly unable to grasp what age they are living in or what enemy they are fighting.”


“For the hair has grown on my upper lip
And the clergy are all clean-shaven”


“عندما يصبح للمرء علاقة محترفة مع الكتب يكتشف المرء كم هي رديئة غالبيتها !”


“النصوص يمكن أن تُقرأ على نحوٍ مختلف Ùˆ في سياقات مختلفة.
Ùˆ هذه الأيام يمكن تفكيكها حسب الرغبة Ùˆ الإرادة.”


“ليس بوسع المرء كتابة شيء مقروء إلا إذا كافح باستمرار لطمس شخصيته ذاتها !”