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Midwest Modern Language Association

Orwell as a (Neo)conservative: The Reception of 1984
Author(s): Philip Goldstein
Source: The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Winter,
2000), pp. 44-57
Published by: Midwest Modern Language Association
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and the left.jstor. I first read 1984 in the early 1970s. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. including American military aggression. the "complicit" media. . and housing programs. when the supervisors of my teacher training asked me to lead a discussion of it. That is. and the Stalinist influence on the left. the suf- fering of impoverished city dwellers. I knew that Orwell condemned imperialist oppression in Burma. "politically correct" feminists." 1984 con- demns the "dictatorial" intellectuals. "vacuous" academic formalism. I have long believed that 1984 supports the neoconservative views represented by Eugene Genovese's condemnation of Marxism. . "irrational" postmodernists. "mindless" popular culture. the universities. since they too defend the common man or the public 44 Orwell This content downloaded from 155. Blacks. femi- nist. and "nihilistic" postmodern anti-aesthetics. The catastrophic con- sequences of our failures during this century . classical and poststructuralist-praised Orwell's pessimistic realism not only because it critiques totalitarian regimes but also because it forcefully defends the public sphere where art and politics unite. I feared. The allegedly high ideals we placed at the center of our ideology and politics are precisely what need to be reexam- ined. environ- mental. "misguided" feminists. that his harsh vision of totalitarian communism under- wrote conservative policies. I reluctantly agreed. I believe that the novel supports not only these conservative policies but also the neocon- servative opposition to "totalitarian" communist parties. to say nothing of the left itself (375). high defense spending. and so on (see Dorrien 34-63). "naive" liberals. Marxist historian Even though I know that Orwell was a left-wing writer. but they can no longereven be made a subject for discussion in the mass media and our universities. education.206. . Frankfurt School and postmodern critics oppose this (neo)conserva- tive realism. I also knew that critics of all types-radical and conservative. the exploitation of British coal min- . formal.192 on Wed. or radi- cals. when Soviet communism has collapsed. and drastically reduced welfare. the fascist victory in Spain. Eugene Genevese. Orwell as a (Neo)conservative: The Reception of 1984 Philip Goldstein Our whole project of "human liberation" has rested on a series of gigantic illusions. can- not be dismissed as aberrations . but.207. . however. Historical. In the 1990s. "power hungry" intellectuals. health. as a defense of the common man or the liberal "public sphere. formal and historical.

whom I call realist because they expect good depict deep conceptual truth or. and poststruc- turalist accounts oppose but do not consistently . "great interpret the novel as a dystopian satire undermining Enlight ideals and vindicating the common man. and its aftermath. fascist brutality. as Lionel Trilling says. and. in Goldstein's book. As William Steinhoff suggests.207. Realist Accounts of 1984 The public critics. imperialist oppression. including the nightmare of totalitarian communism. as a consequence. and the government" (Dorrien 382). because Orwell experienced first-hand colonial and w ing-class poverty. the realists argue that this dystopian satire descri vast repressive potential of the modern totalitarian state. ideological conformity. In a dy style. These critics take 1984 t a profound pessimism in which the science and technology Enlightenment tradition promise a better society but produce irrat and oppression. the party shows a hor desire for power and domination.192 on Wed. they reveal a (neo)conservative import which formal. to preserve the social hierarchy. see also "Nightmar I grant that. Intolerant and rep the party turns sexual desire to aggressive ends. Orwell shows that Oceania and exceeds twentieth-century fascism and communism. fostering hatred. Frankfurt School. the novel extrapolates from modern totalitarian societies but es their repressed drive for power and adulation all the more prof As Irving Howe says. "we have come close enough during the last century to a society like Oceania for the prospect of its realization within reach of the imagination" ("Enigmas" 6. or Oceania ing party announces great improvements in chocolate production realist claims that. When O'Brien says that two and two can equal five.jstor. and cultur- al decline. he was able to depict truthfully the central features of a mad totalitarian world. rather. war and ideological conformity. Oceania. limit education. the novel indicate the optimistic utopian equation between science and progress con deep ignorance of blind human irrationality and fanatic dogmati More precisely. comm duplicity. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. this book says that modern technology produces freedom equality. insofar as they "foster workingclass resentment of the media. the ruling elites in war. not a commitment to a rational Philip Goldstein 45 This content downloaded from 155. like Swift's Houyhnhnms. These c assume that.206. Eastas Eurasia. Writ O'Brien. academics. and destroy technology. 1984's liberal realist interpretations do not show that the New York intellectuals and other public critics can revive the cultural left (see Teres 12-13). the three totalitarian states which divide the world of 198 stantly fight for dominance.sphere. they do not escape key (neo)conservative doctrines. but. World War II.

whom he terms "a rebel from the waist down" and reveals their secret resistance to O'Brien. a dreamy paperweight.192 on . Howe dismisses the feminist complaint that the promiscuous Julia is. and the vacuous prols. Winston repeatedly seeks but fails to find undeniable grounds on which to resist Big Brother and the party. who works in the pornosec division but has no literary sensibility.jstor. the prols. This satire forcefully undermines the Enlightenment's utopian faith in science and progress. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. nonetheless. The realist. popular culture. but he considers Julia just "a woman who likes to fuck" ("Enigmas" 10) because he esteems this parody of rational feeling. as the realists maintain. Winston's memory. In Oceania's histo- ry. Winston and Julia experience strong passion the terrible elimination of which ruins their lives. Win- ston and Julia pursue "a hopeless fancy. Goldstein's book. "If there is hope. the intense sexual love and painful physical torture depicted by 1984 parody the utopian belief that the rational society of the future eliminates volcanic human emotions (Fortunati 119). no more that a "fetishized" projection of "male sexual obsessions and fears" (29-30). Winston dismisses his memories-too rambling and unsystematic. this novel reduces the brotherhood to just another fantasy concocted and perpetuat- ed by the Party." yet he also dismisses the wash- erwoman's song about such a hopeless fancy because he considers the song and the woman mindless and mechanical. in Jenny Taylor's terms. the photo. whose accidental glance Winston considers hard evidence that O'Brien supports Goldstein and the Brotherhood. and worships Big Brother and the Party not only because in totalitarian fashion O'Brien intimidates and tortures Winston but also because. Unlike other dystopias. records." 273). who takes the novel's dystopian parody to vindicate the 46 Orwell This content downloaded from 155. The novel also reduces popular culture to a mindless diversion. As Anthony East- hope says. Winston can find no opposition better than the metaphysical. Winston eventually accepts newspeak. repudiates sexual. or the public sphere. the satire does not vindicate the "plain truth. Winston mixes up the undemocratic manipulation of docu- ments. when the old prol remembers that he once wore the top hat of the rich capitalists and that he nearly beat up one of them. O'Brien's torture exposes the vacuity of this metaphysical pursuit-two plus two can be five if the party wishes it. and even Julia.In addition. gendered love. Winston dismisses the pragmatism of Julia. Julia.207. an old photo. Winston says that. instead of improving them. just operates a writing machine. however." the common man. in the paperweight. a forgotten jingle. Doublethink prevails since the novel allows no grounds for opposition besides Winston's metaphysical quest.206.' A pretentious theorist. a converted church building. Goldstein's subversive book. it lies in the prols" (60). and the media with the metaphysical pursuit of the absolute ground or "immobility" ("Fact.

Why. Irving Kristol. demonizing commu- nism. As Raymond Williams says. Lionel Trilling..192 on Wed.common man. "Orwell's intel- lectual debt to Burnham was .. the parody exposes Winston's metaphysical preten- tions. Norman Podhoretz. This "ideological apparatus" included Burnham's The Managerial Revo- lution. even though Orwell faulted James Burnham's power worship. which provided Orwell his account of the world's divisions as well as Goldstein's account of "Oligarchical Collectivism" and which promot- ed the neoconservative belief that totalitarian communism originates in the liberal Enlightenment but allows no differences of opinion and no resistance or opposition. Hilton Kramer. it was Burnham who provided the ideo- logical apparatus for fighting what he called the Third World War (40). I grant that Orwell accepted this belief. It was Burnham who theoretically gener- alized the symmetry between Nazi and communist forms of totalitarianism . and Dorrien 381).207. and others. And when the war turned out rather differ- ently than he expected. which could not stamp out all resistance or render itself impregnable and unchanging and the prols vacuous and passive (george orwell 80-1. In other words. as the realists also claim. in addition. the internal reform and self-destruction of the former USSR refutes the (neo)conservative view. the novel exaggerates the coercive powers of Big Brother and the party.jstor. along with Sidney . considerable" (42). led "the neoconservatives' ideo- logical war against communism" (40). see also Dallin and Deutscher). Dorrien points out that. does the realist praise so highly the novel's defense of Philip Goldstein 47 This content downloaded from 155. this theory ignores the feudal origins and positive achievements of communist regimes2. Elsewhere I argued that. The dystopian parody does not justify liberal or public values.206. the realist accepts the (neo)conservative belief that totalitarian communism permits no dis- agreement and opposition.. then. [T]he key conceptual categories of neoconservativism were for- mulated by Burnham. In other words. ignores this vacuous metaphysical quest.. the realist believes that O'Brien's triumph reveals what Williams Steinhoff terms "the logical consequences of the totalitarian ideas which had taken root in the minds of intellectuals" (xx). In Dorrien's terms. which considers such change impossi- ble (see Daniels 8. now I simply wish to point out that both Mikhail Gorbachov and Boris Yeltsin came out of the Soviet communist party. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. Initially a radical Marxist but eventually a neoconservative honored by President Reagan. The parody also does not indicate Orwell's profound grasp of totali- tarian communism because the changes of the USSR refute the totalitari- an theory which he acquired from Burnham. Burnhman.

22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. the breakdown of coherent political and cultural publics.. artists and intellectuals of a realist sort effectively defended this sphere. R 42-64. and African-American Studies and postmodern th rists (see Teres 242-43). they promoted the nightmare of cultural decline.. Midge Decter insisted that "America freedom would not be secure . to preserve the frag public sphere.207. and Sinfield 102). Trilling. they considere Orwell their hero (Politics 10). Even the death of communism did not discour these (neo)conservative jeremiads. nonetheless. a broad range critics also justified the subversive force of modern high art and/or t good taste of the common reader (Huyssen 26. expla why critics feared this decline. the disasters of our school system. as long as the media demoralized Am icans . Pietz 65. the realist fears the decline of the public sphere." What's more. Actually. but the 1940s. fearing that communism and its liberal fello travellers produced this oppressive cultural decline. in addition to communist oppression. The New York intellectuals feared that the economic security. to secure th position in the university. Neil Jumonville rightly suggests that t (neo)conservatism of the New York Intellectuals and other public crit began not in the 1970s and 1980s. ideological conformity. the great corporate expansion of the media and the modern university.192 on Wed. Schaub 17.public values and insightful depiction of totalitarian communism? The reason is that. Norris 242. and others abandoned the radical Ma ist politics of their youth and. and America's schools inculcated racism through affirmative action and multiculturalism. but in the early twentieth-century. when these polemics took place. the native tradition of an intellectualism. As Rodden says. What's more. [an the loss of firm convictions within the educated classes" (Notebook 1 Scholars point out that. and alienat professional jargon of the burgeoning modern university would isola them from this fragile space of public art..jstor. turning high modern art into what Lio Trilling called "a polemical concept. as Dorrien points o after communism disintegrated. when Howe. 48 Orwell This content downloaded from 155. t New York intellectuals went on to condemn the newly establishe Women's. destroyed the fragile public space of the traditional realist and man-of-letters. more than communism. in the 1960s and 1970s. the cultivation of ignorance by portions of the counte culture. For example. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries..206. the vanishing public sphere. wha Howe called "[t]he spreading blight of . Marxist. together with the emergence of elite modernist and postmodernist art. the slippage of the m azines. these intellectuals allied themselves with dominant formal critics. and universities packaged anti-intellectu sophistries as learning" (350). to preserve the vanishing public sphe advocated a cultural elitism (185).

" The differences of the neoconservatives and their formal/historical/postmodern opponents readily break down becaus even the radical proponents of the Frankfurt School or of postmodern theory do not consistently reject key neoconservative views. African-American. language. Alan Wald points out. or the political correctness of humanities. condemned the merely literary or linguistic interests of formal or postmodern critics. whose Professing Feminism faults the intolerance and ideo- logical conformity of Women's Studies. whose specialized fields. warfare..206. Winston attracted to O'Brien. He Philip Goldstein 49 This content downloaded from 155. including th demonic communist other of totalitarian theory. family. intellectuals.207. but founded Dissent in order to oppose the neoconservatives. speech. Feminist and formal critics and critical and postmodern theori also oppose the realist orthodoxy. the realist belief that O'Brien reveals the bureaucratic intellectual's true motive-power for power's sake. government." and "big brother" household words and 1984 a virtual primer on communist work. the party cultivates and destroys worthy opponents like Winston because the party considers the struggle for power a competitive game played for its own sake. feminist critics argue that O'Brien's triumph shows the patriarchal order bonding Winston to O'Brien and Big Brother. the nightmarish declin of modern . Wald adds that most of those "integrat into the Dissent circle" move "almost invariably and steadily to the righ (332). For instance. and intolerant political "correctness. during the two minute hate which begins the novel. he abjures Julia and loves O'Brien and Big Brother. sex. In her terms. the realist view has made "double- think. Bernard Bergonzi argues that the artistic traditions of 1984 are literary. and political values the neoconservatives reduce to vacuous jargon. For example. He praised the realism of 1984. formal critics appreciate the satiric force or aesthetic ends of 1984. technical language. not the inescapable domination of the totalitarian party.jstor. Howe has been partly captured by the very forces he him self set out to influence" (332).Dissenting Views In general. goes on to accept. but thi painful result simply extends the male bonding indicated by the opening scenes. academic elitism. and multicultural studies." Of course.. when he faces electric and rat torture. cultural. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. and hostile to Julia whose throat he would like to cut. more rhetorical than real . not its historical truth. just the same. but their opposition too may be "mo rhetorical than real. Daphne Patai reminds us that. Patai. liberal realists like Howe never abandoned their commitment to democratic socialism. or scholarship.192 on Wed. At the end. whom he considers trustworthy. Marxist." "newspeak. art. It has justified neocon- servative attacks on postmodern theory and feminist. Similarly.. not dystopian or political. a powerful orthodoxy. that "Neoconservatives Nathan Glazer and Hilton Kramer" considered "Howe's differences with them . however.

that the apparatchnik is ready to suppress" (6)]. unfashionable truth . Milton. Winston bites the apple of knowledge and destroys their Eden (62-7). Patrick Reilly says that 1984 retells the story of Milton's Paradise Lost. As Fromm 50 Orwell This content downloaded from 155.. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. in general. not political engagement. just the same. Julia and Winston come to occupy an edenic world which permits . Other formal critics also esteem the novel's literary import. like Jonathan Swift. priva- cy. and femininity. and others into Ing- soc before the twenty-first century.206. The resistance of Winston. however. that Orwell's pessimism restates the philosophical despair of Eliot and other modernist writers who. tempted by Julia. this pursuit of the past gives the novel a purely literary import. and London. "a major theme of the literature of the past two hundred years" (228). . Bergonzi still considers totalitari- an communism the object of the novel's critique. Bergonzi suggests that in literature. that Orwell's subversive truth telling makes him a great writer ["He is the prime example in our time of the writer as hero. Orwell found communism's most effective opponent (227). doubt that sci- ence and technology produce social progress and human betterment. Like the liberal realists. since the party cannot finish translating Shakespeare. In addition. whom Reilly considers a "holy fool. Winston tries to preserve his memories of his family. Reilly believes. Orwell satirizes modern humanity: it confuses genuine salvation with the lies and the distortions of Big Brother.. to make sense of an old prol's memories. For example. Reilly argues. like the totalitarian theorists. but so do the heads of the west's giant corporations. insisting on the unwelcome. but they claim that. whom Orwell greatly admired.jstor." amounts to a self-defeating pride enabling O'Brien to destroy him and Julia easily. O'Brien's victory indicates that modern both the communist and the western "free" world also tends toward an oppressive totalitarian condition.207.. domestic retreat. and to recreate a traditional romantic relationship and even an old-fashioned. "Doublethink" and "newspeak" do not apply to a communist society alone. the "golden country. For example.192 on Wed..points out that the London of 1984 draws upon the Victorian slums depicted by George Gissing's The Nether World and that the "Golden Country" of Winston's dreams echoes the classical tradition of a golden age. but. 1984 and the Frankfurt School The social theorists of the Frankfurt School reject the realist orth more radically than these feminist and formal critics do but still d escape the realist's (neo)conservative views. Like a Proustian artist/hero. they apply to the western world too The leaders of totalitarian parties seek the power to create reality and truth. In Orwell's version. Eric F claims that O'Brien's victory does not show how oppressive life in totalitarian future will be.

in which man builds machines which act like men and develops men who act like machines" (267). not just totalitarian communism. Like Fromm. yet. Miller argues. construing popular culture as a night- marish decline. What's more. This new industrialism characterizes the whole modern era. Its advertizing destroys all resistance. (33-4). 1984 reveals a new "managerial industrialism. producing an indivi ual who "yearns and buys and yearns as if responding only to his heart' desires" (45)." "ingests and transforms everything and everyone into its own dark element" (25). Lastly. Miller suggests that the party's evils stem from the Enlightenment. memories. Win- ston unsuccessfully opposes this monstrous dream/reality because his internal and external worlds are equally uncertain and insubstantial (25).. "like some monstrous psyche. whose subversive practices have become what he terms an "oppressive orthodoxy. this era still produces a cultural decline in which "men are trans- formed into things and become appendicies to the process of production and consumption" (267). thought and nature. He even argues that. yet. is the real horror at the heart of 1984-not that the Party is too devious . also dismisses the realist orthodoxy and its totalitarian theory and applies 1984 to modern western life as a whole. however. democratic world and Soviet dictatorship (27). 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. body and soul. "This.192 on Wed. who construe 1984 as an "anti-Stalinist allegory. who quotes his diary or records and plays back his words to him. another proponent of the Frankfurt School. As a result. but that it sees through everything itself.206. however. that O'Brien. this new era is "con- ducive to . dehumanization and complete alienation" (267). as he says.. As Miller says." In addition.207. not just communist societies. like communism. or facts will enable him to prove that the party has fabricated history. that 1984 depicts a "radically uncertain" dream world in which Oceania. adopts the same subversive strategy. like Fromm. he too takes the relationship of Winston and O'Brien to indict intellectuals. O'Brien even gets Win- ston to promise to perform terrorist acts. This account of the relentless totalitarian subversion forcefully cri- tiques the realist account. by construing all oppositions as linguistic and not historical. He imagines that pictures." fail to understand that the party assimilates all oppositions: city and country. "Orwell perceived a totalitarian tendency in all of modern intellectual culture" (36). Miller complains that its restless commodification of art has not only deadened us to 1984's true horror but has made the con- sumer's life an equally horrifying obsession (43-46). so that any effort to subvert it can do nothing but resemble it" (41). then. The realists.jstor. Miller argues. modernist Philip Goldstein 51 This content downloaded from . Miller claims that this relentless subversion also characterizes the western cor- porate world. Mark Crispin Miller... the differences between Smith and O'Brien break down.says. and free.

he considers totalitarian theory ideological. however. For example. that the theory cannot explain the "develop- ment of Stalinist Russia out of Czarist absolutism" ("Fact" 267. and loves O'Brien and Big Brother. Postmodern Readings Miller and Fromm critique the realist orthodoxy and repudiate totali- tarian theory but still affirm the realist's nightmare vision of Enlighten- ment (ir)rationality and cultural decline. records. who frequently shows misogynist feelings. post- modern critics challenge not only the realist orthdoxy and its totalitarian theory but the nightmare vision of Enlightenment reason and cultural decline as well. see also Studies 100).207. Easthope goes on to suggest.and postmodernist theories reaffirm the Enlightenment's practices and. as the realists claim. East- hope claims that dystopias evoke the modernist paranoia of Kafka's The Trial. but because this rhetorical strate- gy mixes up the undemocratic manipulation of documents. disavows Julia and het- erosexual desire. Most postmodern critics also do not escape the realist's (neo)conservative views. Easthope also argues that Winston and Julia's resistance does not affirm the public values of individuality. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. he denies that the text successfully distin- guishes fact and fantasy. constructing a liberal ideology or "subject position. not the intellectuals' inability to resist totalitarian practices. He argues. the "anonymous social repression" characteristic of twentieth-century monopoly capitalism ("Fact" 280. rather. love. more generally. but. and the media with the metaphysical pursuit of an absolute ground or "immo- bility." 280-83). thereby. more radical. see also Lewin). and truth.jstor. accepts his unconscious homosexuality.206. autonomy. as lib- eral Russian historians . Easthope argues that this strategy fails not because the party's power is inescapable. not scientific. Winston believes that he can destroy Big Brother if he can prove that the party alters historical records because the text denies its status as writing and emphasizes the empirical immediacy of "facts" and the transcendental status of the knower. the fictional status of the text betrays itself because O'Brien's tri- umph represent sexual fantasy." The text reveals the impossibility of such absolute grounds of truth. ensure the triumph of Big Brother and the Party (39). As a consequence. that the novel's dystopian fanta- sy reveals the paranoia produced by Winston's repressed homosexuality and. Win- ston. as the realists say." the text grants Winston self-consciousness and individ- ual autonomy and the state unconscious orthodoxy. however. He says that. In this fantasy.192 on Wed. Anthony Easthope grants that 1984 insightfully embodied the general ideas of totalitarian theory. This broad theoretical critique of repression reaffirms the public realism 52 Orwell This content downloaded from 155. not the dangers posed by totalitarian intellectuals ("Fact. not historical truth.

say. he argues that O'Brien's triumph shows a contin- gent historical possibility. and factual truth. in general. rather. He argues that the traditional categories of high art and popular realism draw an empty. Rorty insists that such ideological critique mixes up the public space of literal statement and the private space of figural ("ironic") theory. O'Brien destroys Winston's beliefs and . without neutral truths or independent realities. "allied themselves" with a "spectacularly successful criminal gang" (171). not better or worse than. More importantly. however. concerned with individual better- ment. 170). but he denies that O'Brien's triumph violates the commonsense or public values of solidari- ty. he denies that 1984 accurately depicts the facts or the truths of society or of totalitarian communism in general. Miller. that 1984 describes the former USSR. O'Brien does not prove that two plus two equals five. losing the capacity to restore their coherence and selfhood. for example. the text undermines its ideological project. love. Philip Goldstein 53 This content downloaded from 155. the popular fiction of Orwell. for Nabokov and Orwell both reveal what Rorty terms a liberal sensitivity to pain. As a result.of Fromm. while. He grants. Rorty claims that. as the realists say.206. That is. Orwell's perspective is public (146. revealing a modernist paranoia or an impossible quest for metaphysical truth. Nabokov different from.192 on Wed. emphasizing social welfare. as Easthope says. when an O'Brien tears down the beliefs and the language of intellectuals. who also assume that the fantasies revealed by great art resist the repression which capitalist rationality imposes on social life. Rorty also rejects the realist fear of cultural decline. he will not allow that. Rorty still takes O'Brien's triumph to condemn intellectuals who. they suffer a "special pain": they turn incoherent. This critique of tra- ditional aesthetic categories effectively debunks the realist faith in high art. As he says. but he preserves more of its (neo)conservative views. art lacks substance. even though he claims that Nabokov and Orwell both show a liberal sen- sitivity to pain. Nabokov's outlook is private. chauvin- ist despair. because he rejects the foundational belief that. he still maintains that. because of the Enlightenment's failed ideals. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor. not a modernist paranoia or a cynical. The liberal neopragmatist Richard Rorty also critiques the realist orthodoxy. metaphysical distinction between moral seriousness and aesthetic value. 1984 shows us "what vocabulary to stop using.207. rather. however. the critique preserves the (neo)conservative faith in literal statement and public values. He considers the high art of." not the era's underlying historical or political framework. "redescribing the post-WWII political situation by redescribing the Soviet Union". and the Frankfurt School.

he wrote a book "that would bridge the gap between popular and elitist culture. to resist the onslaught of a totalitarian society. together with the emergence of elite modernist and postmodernist art. Frankfurt School and postmodern critics appreciate the subversive import of 1984's dystopian satire and oppose (neo)conservative realism. German fascists. who believes that Orwell "had the literary genius to go right to the heart" of totalitari- anism's dilemmas (19). has destroyed the fragile public space of the traditional realist and man-of-letters. claims that the novel bitterly satirizes "power hungry" 54 Orwell This content downloaded from 155.207. they do not escape key (neo)conservative doctrines. an modern critics. The growth of higher educa- tion has.206. Bernard Crick.jstor. British coalmin Spanish Civil War. Alex Zwerdling says that. women. including the nightmare of totali- tarian communism. for example. minorities. a positive aspect: insofar as academic literary studies dismisses the conservative assumption that high art alone resists ideological conformity or cultural decline. Nonetheless. Conserv- atives and radicals both fear that the great corporate expansion of the media and of the modern university. that this liberal. and cultural decline. Historical. the realist view has foste (neo)conservative belief that a nightmarish totalitarian communis fies a tenacious opposition not only to communist parties but also ular culture. just the same. homosexuals. because they wish to preserve the commonsense of the public sphere. liberal intellectuals. multicultural. The realist orthodoxy claims th embodies the historical truth of totalitarian theory and justifies t mon man's opposition to the oppressive establishment. feminist. scholars say that the liberal criticism of the New York intellectuals can revive the Anglo-Am cultural left (see. ideological conformity. howev though Orwell's experience with Burmese natives. thanks to this growth. academic literary studies can. exercize some influence on public taste. and . since Orwell expected ordinary people. 22 Nov 2017 14:14:15 UTC All use subject to http://about. however. Teres 12-13 and 242-43). University of Deleware/Parallel Notes 1. not powerful intellec- tuals." Similarly.192 on Wed.Conclusion Since the postmodern turn to a literary politics has expo humanities to conservative polemics. and higher education. John Rodden says that most critics ranked the formal self-consciousness of Joyce's Ulysses or Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury higher than the historical objectivity of 1984 but praised its defense of our common humanity. The rece 1984 suggests. and Soviet communists mad forceful defender of democratic ideals. public criticism justif (neo)conservative politics whose triumphs in the 1990s have so t harmed the humanities. formal. the w classes.

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