| After Nine Years || Jan 31, 2015 |
Since no one has responded in the last 9 years, and just to keep this thread alive, I'll add a little more on George Orwell.-Ron Price, Australia
GEORGE ORWELL and SHOGHI EFFENDI
In April 1936, the English author and journalist George Orwell(1903-1950) started to rent a small place which functioned as a village grocery. the location was an old, dark, and pokey cottage—insalubrious and devoid of all basic amenities (no inside toilet, no cooking facilities, no electricity—only oil lamps for lighting). On rainy days the kitchen floor was underwater; blocked drains turned the whole place into a smelly cesspool. Peter Davison, the editor of Orwell’s diaries and letters,1 comments: “One may say without being facetious, it suited Orwell to the ground.” And it especially suited Eileen, his wonderfully Orwellian wife. She moved in the day of their marriage, in 1936, and the way she managed this improbable home testifies both for her heroism and for her eccentric sense of humor.
The income from their grocery shop hardly ever covered the rent of the cottage. The main customers were a small bunch of local children who used to buy a few pennies’ worth of lollipops after school. By the end of the year, the grocery went out of business, but at that time it had already fulfilled its true purpose: Orwell was in Barcelona, volunteering to fight against fascism. When he enlisted into the Anarchist militia in the Spanish Civil War, he could proudly sign “Eric Blair, grocer.”1
In that same year, in fact the following month, in May 1936, Shoghi Effendi the then appointed leader of what claimed to be the latest of the great Abrahamic religions, the Baha’i Faith, began to prepare the American Baha’i community to launch its first systematic teaching campaign in April-May 1937. In a letter on 1 May 1936 he referred to “humanity entering the outer fringes of the most perilous stage of its existence.”2-Ron Price with thanks to 1Simon Leys, “The Intimate Orwell: A Review of Orwell’s Diaries and Letters,” The New York Review of Books, 26 May 2011; and 2Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America: 1932-1946, Wilmette, p.6.
You had such a short writing life,
George, or should I say Eric----in
those 1930s and 1940s. It was all
over by mid-century. We both had
a horror of politics; we both were
non-partisan. You were much more
bold as a writer than you were as a
person: reserved, reticent, awkward.
I liked your single-minded personality,
George, certainly a single-mindedness
has become more and more true of me
in this the evening of my life; it was true
of the Guardian2-single-minded devotion.
Your diaries were published nearly 50 years
after your death, and mine, George, what will
happen to mine?...All this writing, George……
where will it all go when I go into a hole and
write and speak no more, no more, George!!
1 Simon Leys, “The Intimate Orwell: A Review of Orwell’s Diaries and Letters,” The New York Review of Books, 26 May 2011.
2 Shoghi Effendi, the appointed leader of the Baha’i Faith: 1921-1957.
11/8/'11 to 31/1/'15.
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