Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"The Same Man"

Allen Barra on two English writers who shared "a hatred of moral relativism," noting that "each believed with all his heart, brain and soul that there were such things as moral right and moral wrong, and that these were not subject to changes in fashion" — Orwell and Evelyn Waugh...An English Literary Odd Couple. An excerpt:
    Orwell defended "Brideshead Revisited" from a left-wing attack in the Times Literary Supplement by arguing that the reviewer missed the essential theme of the book, "the collision between ordinary decent behavior and the Catholic concept of good and evil." Or as Orwell put it in a final, unfinished essay, what Waugh was trying to do in his fiction was "to use the feverish, culture-less modern world as a set-off for his own conception of a good and stable way of life."

    As much could be said for "1984" or "Animal Farm," and Waugh came close to saying it.

    "I think it possible," he wrote to Orwell in 1950, "that in 1984 we shall be living in conditions rather like those you show."
The author suggests that "the peace that Orwell and Waugh found with each other suggests a common ground for liberals and conservatives of today."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.