Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Living through World War II with Orwell

In case you quit checking the blog since you found the number of eggs that George Orwell had for breakfast that day to be not all that interesting, I thought I'd point out that the daily unfolding of Orwell's diary at Orwell Diaries has now gotten to where he is commenting on living through World War II on a daily basis (with each entry correlating to this day seventy years ago).

Given that Orwell wrote probably the most influential anti-totalitarian novel of all time, and that his experiences living through World War II no doubt played a significant part in shaping his thoughts about such matters, I find the diaries to be a fascinating window into his mind and how Orwell experienced the war.

Here is yesterday's entry:

Air-raid warnings, of which there are now half a dozen or thereabouts every 24 hours, becoming a great bore. Opinion spreading rapidly that one ought simply to disregard the raids except when they are known to be big-scale ones and in one’s own area. Of the people strolling in Regent’s Park, I should say at least half pay no attention to a raid-warning . . . . . Last night just as we were going to bed, a pretty heavy explosion. Later in the night woken up by a tremendous crash, said to be caused by a bomb in Maida Vale[1]. E. and I merely remarked on the loudness and fell asleep again. Falling asleep, with a vague impression of anti-aircraft guns firing, found myself mentally back in the Spanish war, on one of those nights when you had a good straw to sleep on, dry feet, several hours rest ahead of you, and the sound of distant gunfire, which acts as a soporific provided it is distant.

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