On Tolkien and Orwell

Darcy Moore writes:

On first looking at J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) and George Orwell (1903-1950) they appear to have little in common, as men or writers, other than being peculiarly English authors with evergreen book sales…

Both men were nostalgic about their Edwardian childhoods in the period prior to WWI. They were both relatively poor scholarship boys who read incredibly widely and published in their school magazines. They developed a profound love of nature as boys which lasted their entire lives. Both men had abhorrence of industrialisation and machines and a love of handmade things.

There are many similarities:

  • hatred of authoritarianism
  • deep concern over the corruption of language and politics by lies, propaganda and poor writing
  • propensity to value clarity of language and honesty of intentions
  • vehement rejection of totalitarianism of any hue, left or right
  • genuine belief in equality and democracy
  • love of private life and all its pleasures and joys
  • distaste for supervision and intrusion

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