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Liberty, equality, and humbug - David Dwan

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Liberty, equality, and humbug - Orwell's political ideals
David Dwan
Oxford University Press
UK Publication Date

George Orwell is watching you and you're watching him. Britain pays its respects in the form of the Orwell Prize, the Orwell Lecture, and, more recently, Orwell Day. A statue of Orwell now stands outside Broadcasting House in London and he continues to tower over broadsheet journalism. His ghost is repeatedly summoned in the houses of Parliament and in schools across Britain. In Europe and the US, citizens confront the perennial question: "What would Orwell say?" Orwell is part of the political vocabulary of our times, yet partly due to this popularity, what he stands for remains opaque. His writing confirms deep and widely shared intuitions about political justice, but much of its enduring fascination derives from the fact that these intuitions don't quite add up. David Dwan accounts for these inconsistencies by exploring the broader moral conflict at the centre of Orwell's work and the troubled idealism it yields. Examining the whole sweep of Orwell'swritings, this book shows how literature can be a rich source of political wisdom.

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David Dwan is Associate Professor in English at Hertford College, Oxford. He writes on the relationship between literature and intellectual history, particularly moral and political philosophy, from the late eighteenth- to the early twentieth century.

Orwell deserved a brilliant book on him and here it is. By far the most irresistible, searching, and graceful account of our iconic writer and political thinker. A triumph of modern scholarship.
Helena Kennedy, QC

A vivid and valuable reconstruction of Orwell's political thinking. It shines a bright light on his somewhat unsteady service to somewhat unstable ideals. But it still kindles affection for the man.
Philip Pettit, Princeton University and Australian National University

David Dwan admires Orwell this side of idolatry, and interprets him against a background generous enough to include Adorno and Hayek, Marx and Bentham, Auden and Huxley. The result is a subtle, cogent, and wonderfully well-informed study, most unusual in its treatment of the place of equality in Orwell's thinking and the connection between the practice of freedom and respect for truth.
David Bromwich, Yale University

David Dwan has written a thoughtful and complex book about a thoughtful and complex man who too many think they know too well. In a polarized moment when so much comment veers between hagiography and hate, Liberty, Equality, and Humbug reminds us of a great writer's contradictions and inspires reflection on our own.
Shami Chakrabarti

An excellent book, beautifully crafted, smart and bold.
Robert Colls, Literary Review

A powerful study of Orwell's thought and intellectual shape-shifting.
Andrew Palmer, Times Higher Education

The figure who emerges from Dwan's interesting book reveals a man who strangely never seemed to trust himself.
Gordon Parsons, Morning Star

[A] perceptive study of George Orwell... Almost 70 years after his death, Orwell's two most important fictions, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, are more relevant than ever... This study allows us to understand him better.
P Stansky, CHOICE

First edition
Keyword Index
Politics and literature.|Politics in literature.|Political science - Philosophy.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
viii, 302

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