Orwell as Public Intellectual: Anarchism, Communism and the New Left (Anarchist Studies 29.1, Spring 2021)

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Publication date: March 16, 2021

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Nick Stevenson

This article seeks to recover the importance of George Orwell as a critical public intellectual. Orwell remains a controversial figure for both The New Left and Anarchists during the post-war period. Here I seek to recover the complexity of Orwell’s writing which ranged across a number of political traditions including anarchism, liberalism and democratic socialism against some of the charges made by prominent members of the New Left. Especially critical at this juncture were a number of anarchist writers who were more receptive to Orwell’s influence. In the concluding section I seek to argue that Orwell while not an anarchist remains an important figure for those concerned about the growing authoritarianism of the twenty-first century.

DOI:10.3898/AS.29.1.01