As I Please

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"As I Please" was a series of articles written between 1943 and 1947 for the British left-wing newspaper Tribune by author and journalist George Orwell.

On resigning from his job at the BBC in November 1943, Orwell joined Tribune as literary editor. Over the next three-and-a-half years he wrote a series of columns, under the title "As I Please", that remain some of the greatest examples of their genre in the English language.[1] The articles allowed Orwell to digress freely over whatever topics came into his mind, including reminiscences, nature observations, gleanings from books and thoughts on the political situation. Each article roamed from one theme to another without any need for formal continuity but had no title indicating the content.

The first article appeared in December 1943 and considered prevailing attitude to American servicemen in Britain. The last, in April 1947, covered the publication of social surveys by the Mass Observation research group, venereal diseases and begins the concluding section "For the last five minutes I have been gazing out of the window into the square, keeping a sharp look-out for first signs of spring".[2]

Topics in As I Please articles[edit]

Incomplete list - 1946 onwards only

8 November 1946

  • American fashion magazines
  • Road safety - futility of "Keep Death off the Roads" campaign
  • Bread rationing - strange case of a crofter having a lower ration because he is a farmer rather than a labourer

15 November 1946

  • Popular feeling against foreign immigration - because of Government's failure to publicise itself properly
  • Hanging of war criminals and apparent use of slow death strangulation rather than the "drop"
  • Source wanted for a Checkhov quotation from Shakespeare "Happy is he who in his youth is young"

22 November 1946

  • Newspapers - including two lists ranking the nine leading national dailies by "Intelligence" and "Popularity"

29 November 1946

  • Prevalence of "Bad News" stories in newspapers - mainly caused by the desire for power
  • Shortage of watches and clocks and the resulting price inflation
  • Return of the Jews to Palestine

6 December 1946

  • Trilby by George du Maurier and the antisemitic tone in the description of Svengali
  • Writers should retire and stop writing when they reach middle age - referring specifically to H. G. Wells
  • Printing of four letter words

13 December 1946

  • How the day-to-day humbug of UNO and other international conferences resembles a board game, while in the real world the issue of national sovereignty is not resolved

20 December 1946

  • Christmas - in praise of indulgence and conviviality in disregard for vegetarians and teetotallers, but with no cause for celebration given the state of the world at Christmas 1946. Wishes for a better celebration at Christmas 1947

27 December 1946

  • How modern knowledge has to depend on authority rather than reasoning
  • Laski's libel case, an appeal for financial support and the issue of libel in general
  • Disgusting American 'comics'

3 January 1947

  • On a liner to Burma when a quartermaster scavenges a custard pie
  • Literary purge in the USSR and expulsion of writers from the Writer's Union
  • Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius as an incentive to getting up in the morning

17 January 1947

  • Flawed report in the Daily Herald on Indians who broadcast on Nazi radio
  • In Darkest Germany - Gollancz book on post-war starvation in Germany
  • Uncommented quote about hints for dogs over-indulged at Christmas
  • Stupid expressions and the use of "certain" meaning "uncertain"

24 January 1947

  • Scottish businessmen and their attitudes to Polish refugees
  • Recollections of significant events - Petain at Foch's funeral and Queen Mary in Windsor

31 January 1947 (As I Pleased)

  • Personal experiences of Tribune as a reader, writer and observer

7 February 1947

  • The need for a good D-I-Y guide
  • Dirtiness of snow
  • Burmese independence and the problem of autonomy of minority groups within minority groups
  • Misprints in H. G. Wells books and his lack of self-criticism

14 February 1947

  • Scottish Nationalism as a form of race-hatred and the case for keeping the Gaelic language alive
  • Political content in a commercial circular letter from a whisky distiller
  • Amusing epitaphs

7 March 1947

  • The need for an improved anthology of modern English poetry

14 March 1947

  • Problems with the idea of simplifying English spelling and the advantages of traditional imperial units
  • How a party of Germans, given food parcel by trade unions, had them confiscated by customs
  • An experience in teaching history

28 March 1947

  • "Mass Observation", social surveys and the financial determination of what is surveyed
  • Venereal diseases
  • The first signs of spring

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Paul (ed). Orwell in Tribune: 'As I Please' and Other Writings. Methuen/Politico's 2006. ISBN 1-84275-155-7
  2. ^ Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Secker & Warburg 1968