Monthly Archives: July 2020

Notes on Nationalism, by George Orwell

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

My next (NF) book was going to be Michael Ackland’s Henry Handel Richardson, A Life, (because I am still peeved by Brenda Niall’s representation of HHR in Friends and Rivals, Four Great Australian Writers, see why, here) but Orwell’s essay in the Penguin Moderns series was on top of the NF pile… I was sure that his thoughts about nationalism were bound to be pertinent for our age… so HHR will have to wait. (But not for long because these mini-books can be read in a day.)

Orwell writes in his usual acerbic way, starting with his definition of nationalism: the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  But more importantly, he says, he means the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or…

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