Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Nothing ever dies."

I am indebted to the Belgian, 
Pierre Ryckmans, writing in
The New York Review as Simon
Leys, for this quotation from
the recently published letters
of George Orwell, writing as
Eric Blair. I am indebted to
his selectivity and to his
gift for building the predic-
ate for this summary state-
ment, so that I could cite it
for this extraordinary portrait.

Orwell's remark, from his final
illness to a sweetheart from
his youth, is an escalation,
in the same vein, of an early
confession of one's own, we
forget nothing. I'm very glad
to be reminded, too, of things
I had seen Orwell saying, I do
not want completely to abandon
the world-view I acquired in
childhood .. I think that by
retaining one's childhood love
of such things as trees, fishes,
butterflies and toads, one makes
a peaceful and decent future a
little more probable.

Have you seen, today, a more
charming portrait than this one?
I was pitched into something re-
sembling embarrassed enchantment
(whatever that could be) simply to
catch it from the corner of my eye
on a brisk tour d'horison of the
web as I awaited the debate in New 
Hampshire. I do not expect the
question to be asked, What do you
think of toads; I do not expect 
serious journalism tonight.

But I expect this question from 
every estimable moral voice ever
to open its mouth, from Heraclitus
to Beethoven, to Einstein to my
friend Tassos' infant nephew, pos-
sibly now walking. I'd interrogate
anyone who sought power to shape
the experience of this life, with 
this question.

Simon Leys
The New York Review
  of Books, LVIII, 9
  The Intimate Orwell
NYREV, Inc., 2011©


  1. Silvano/Gay CultesJanuary 8, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Merci pour l'hommage !
    J'aime beaucoup ce blog, et mets "google translation" à contribution chaque jour...

  2. You present an elegantly affecting blog in superlative taste, and with very handsome diversity of subject. This morning, I researched incorporating the translation "gadget" at this page and was advised by 'blogger' that these applications have errors and are momentarily unavailable. I especially appreciate, then, your readership under these trying conditions, even of this acknowledgment.

    I am only sorry that events in the US intervened last evening, to find these portraits no longer at the top of the page. I hope readers will refresh themselves in their spirit, repeatedly.