Talk:Orwell's list

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As I understand it there are really two lists - one Orwell's notebook of about 100 names which seems to have been a personal grudge book with nasty comments on several people, and the second the selected list based on this which he gave to Celia and which became an official document. The article was intended to cover the latter, but probably needs to include and distinguish the former. Motmit (talk) 17:55, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Greetings Motmit - here's more or less what was going on (two excerpts from Garton Ash):

At some point in the mid- to late 1940s he had started keeping a private notebook in which he tried to work out who was what: outright member of the CP, agent, “F. T.”, sentimental sympathizer...

The notebook, which I have been able to consult without restriction at the Orwell Archive at University College, London, shows that he worried away at the list. It contains entries in pen and pencil, with asterisks in red and blue against some names. There are 135 names in all, of which ten have been crossed out, either because the person had died — like Fiorello La Guardia, the former mayor of New York — or because Orwell had decided they were not crypto-communists or fellow travelers. Thus, for example, the name of the historian A.J.P. Taylor is crossed out, with Orwell's heavily underlined remark “Took anti-CP line at Wroclaw Conference”, as is that of the American novelist Upton Sinclair, on whom, rejecting his own earlier assessment, Orwell comments: “No. Denounced Czech coup & Wroclaw conference.” Stephen Spender (“Sentimental sympathiser... Tendency towards homosexuality”) and Richard Crossman (“Too dishonest to be outright F. T.”) are not yet crossed out; but this was before the appearance of The God That Failed. The way Orwell agonized over his individual assessments is shown by the entry on J. B. Priestley. This has against it a red asterisk, which is crossed out with black cross-hatching and then encircled in blue with an added question mark.


Meanwhile, Orwell asked his old friend Richard Rees to send him the notebook from the remote house on the Scottish island of Jura where he had written 1984. Thanking him for it on April 17, he writes:

Cole [i. e., the historian G. D. H. Cole] I think should probably not be on the list but I would be less certain of him than of Laski in case of a war... The whole business is very tricky, and one can never do more than use one's judgement and treat each case individually.

So we must imagine Orwell lying in his sanatorium bed, gaunt and wretched, going through the notebook, perhaps adding a blue question mark to the red asterisk and black cross-hatching on Priestley, wondering how Cole or Laski, Crossman or Spender would behave in the event of a real, shooting war with the Soviet Union — and which of the 135 names to pass on to Celia.

On receiving her note, he wrote back at once, enclosing his list of thirty-eight:

Timothy Garton Ash: ‘Orwell's List’ Published: ‘The New York Review of Books’. — USA, New York, 2003. — September

Can you summarise it? :) --Technopat (talk) 01:31, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for that - Shelden also has some useful stuff - funny how Crick suppressed it. Oh dear! poor old George "agonizing" over his assessments - I can also imagine the violins in the background at the sanatorium as I reach for a handkerchief! Motmit (talk) 18:53, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
On second thoughts, as a life-long adept of the KISS principle, I reckon introducing the original notebook list in this article is asking for trouble (Garton Ash can't even make up his mind whether there are 38 or 35 or whatever names on "The List") - maybe a brief reference to it (mentioning that it is NOT to be confused with "The List") and then going into greater detail at the G. O. article proper - or maybe even starting a new article called UCL Orwell Archive and referring to it there under a sub-section of "Unpublished notes & letters" ("unpublished" in the sense of "not being articles, book reviews, essays, etc. expressly written for publication"). --Technopat (talk) 01:38, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Not enough material for two articles; that would just mean putting the readers to extra trouble. It's better to have it all collected in one place.Ojevindlang (talk) 04:12, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Trouble is clearly distinguishing between the two (?) lists: List A (the IRD List) which is the subject of this article, and List B ("the Notebook" list) from which the former stems. There is still much confusion over this, and Wheatcroft ("Big Brother with a High Moral Sense" by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. The Independent, June 28, 1998) also confuses 'em. As for the "extra touble", wikilinks aka bluelinks are great! Cheers! --Technopat (talk) 10:28, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
This, as so much of wiki, is a chance to straighten out the confusion. RegardsMotmit (talk) 12:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Removed names[edit]

Have removed Bessie Braddock and John Platt-Mills from the article as there are no references available. I included the former, which I came across through Google, but on closer inspection, it seems blog-like. The 2nd name I have no recollection of including in the article and googling hasn't yet brought up any positive reference. Anyone? --Technopat (talk) 02:39, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

confusing name switch[edit]

Can anyone confirm whether the New Leader named in the article refers to the US publication of that name (as linked) or to the UK Labour Leader which was also called New Leader at the time of Orwell's article... Cheers! --Technopat (talk) 03:14, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

CEJL IV has (New York) after the publication name. It seems to have been an anti-communist magazine and Orwell is listed as a contributor - who knows whether Joseph McCarthy was a reader. Motmit (talk) 09:09, 12 January 2009 (UTC)