American conservatives are not generally given to celebrating the political wisdom of English left-wing socialists, yet this has been the curious fate of George Orwell. From the very beginning of his literary success in this
country, the creators of the myth of the conservative Orwell would appear to have deliberately ignored Orwell’s own interpretation of his work. Although Orwell lay dying of tuberculosis while the American conservative crusade
gathered momentum, he insisted upon issuing “a sort of dêmenti” against what he took to be a deliberate misreading of 1984. The dementi took the form of a letter to Francis A. Henson of the United Auto Workers. The pertinent portions of the letter appeared in Life (June 25, 1949) and the New York Times Book Review (July 31, 1949)
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