I thought it was time for another of those readings
I'm fond of inflicting on the List.
Enjoy - if you can !
Mr. Charrington's junk shop: T.S. Eliot and modernist poetics in 'Nineteen Eighty-Four.'
by Patricia Rae, Twentieth Century Literature, Summer, 1997
Orwell's attraction to Eliot appears to have been based on much more, though, than a taste for pure aesthetic pleasure or even a desire to disturb the "highbrow baiting" (CEJL III, 160) of his leftist contemporaries. As Graham Good and Brian Matthews have shown, the two writers concurred in several cultural and historical views. One was their appreciation for folk culture, and a sense that it was atrophying in the face of popular cultural forms like the cinema and gramophone music.(5) Another, directly related to Orwell's willingness to defend Eliot against the left, was their mutual suspicion of
self-appointed cultural elites. In a 1948 review of Eliot's Notes towards the Definition of Culture, Orwell endorses and even embellishes Eliot's arguments against such elites, arguing that the poet errs only in not making his case more strongly (CEJL IV, 455-56). But by far the strongest point of sympathy between the two writers was in their profound sense of disaffection from contemporary life and of longing for the past. A number of Orwell's lyrics of the 1930s (and two of the protagonists of his early novels(6)) express disillusionment and nostalgia reminiscent of The Waste Land and borrow from its imagery in the process. . . .
The fragmentary state of the junk shop's contents, finally, and the nostalgia they evoke, suggests a possible parallel between the shop and the text of The Waste Land, another "heap of broken images" inspiring its reader to view the present in the
light of a nobler past. In this light, Nineteen Eighty-Four becomes an allegory of reading, with Charrington as author, and Winston in a double role as The Waste Land's protagonist and its reader. As protagonist, Winston seeks inspiration and renewal in history; as reader, he demonstrates the hermeneutic challenges posed by the junk's distinctively modernist form.
Moody friends. Drama queens. Your life? Nope! - their life, your story.
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