Against Lesser Evilism  

Whenever A and B are in opposition to each other,” wrote George Orwell in 1945, in “Through a Glass, Rosily,” “anyone who attacks or criticizes A is accused of aiding and abetting B.” He added: “It is a tempting maneuver, …



Oscar Wilde’s Socialism  

In conversation with Granville Barker, George Bernard Shaw once bragged that the comedy of his plays was the sugar that he employed to disguise the bitter socialist pill. How clever of the audience, replied Barker, to lick off the sugar …



Critic of the Booboisie  

In my spare time, I collect significant encounters that never took place. Karl Marx and Charles Darwin were intended by a mutual friend to meet but the rendezvous did not occur. George Orwell waited for Albert Camus to keep an …



The New Complainers  

In the 1960s, while exiled in Algeria from the intensifying ruthlessness of the apartheid state, the leaders of the “black consciousness” Pan African Congress sent a letter to Evelyn Waugh. They had, they told him solemnly, read his novel Black …



Maestro of Resentment  

We live, apparently, in a time of the composure of grievance, the forgiveness of transgressions, the putting-behind us of the past. Ancient wrongs are righted, traditional conflicts resolved or dissolved. In the lees of this soothing tonic of lenience and …