Only Pinter remains

British literature's long and rich tradition of politically engaged 
writers has come to an end

Terry Eagleton
Saturday July 7, 2007
The Guardian,,2120934,00.html

For almost the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British
poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the
western way of life. One might make an honourable exception of Harold
Pinter, who has wisely decided that being a champagne socialist is
better than being no socialist at all; but his most explicitly political
work is also his most artistically dreary.

The knighting of Salman Rushdie is the establishment's reward for a man
who moved from being a remorseless satirist of the west to cheering on
its criminal adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. David Hare caved in to
the blandishments of Buckingham Palace some years ago, moving from
radical to reformist. Christopher Hitchens, who looked set to become the
George Orwell de nos jours, is likely to be remembered as our Evelyn
Waugh, having thrown in his lot with Washington's neocons. Martin Amis
has written of the need to prevent Muslims travelling and to
strip-search people "who look like they're from the Middle East or from
Pakistan". Deportation, he considers, may be essential further down the
road. [more]


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