Jones, the neglectful owner of the farm, has drunkenly shut the animals away and gone to sleep, the animals all assemble in the barn to hear a respected boar named Old Major speak. Old Major proceeds to share his dream of a world without men, one ruled by animals.
This book was first thought of, so far as the central idea goes, inbut was not written down until about the end of Only one of these had any ideological motive. Two had been publishing anti-Russian books for years, and the other had no noticeable political colour.
One publisher actually started by accepting the book, but after making the preliminary arrangements he decided to consult the Ministry of Information, who appear to have warned him, or at any rate strongly advised him, against publishing it.
Here is an extract from his letter: I mentioned the reaction I had had from an important official in the Ministry of Information with regard to Animal Farm.
I must confess that this expression of opinion has given me seriously to think… I can see now that it might be regarded as something which it was highly ill-advised to publish at the present time.
If the fable were addressed generally to dictators and dictatorships at large then publication would be all right, but the fable does follow, as I see now, so completely the progress of the Russian Soviets and their two dictators, that it can apply only to Russia, to the exclusion of the other dictatorships.
I think the choice of pigs as the ruling caste will no doubt give offence to many people, and particularly to anyone who is a bit touchy, as undoubtedly the Russians are. This kind of thing is not a good symptom. Obviously it is not desirable that a government department should have any power of censorship except security censorship, which no one objects to in war time over books which are not officially sponsored.
But the chief danger to freedom of thought and speech at this moment is not the direct interference of the MOI or any official body. If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion.
In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves. Any fairminded person with journalistic experience will admit that during this war official censorship has not been particularly irksome.
The press has some justified grievances, but on the whole the Government has behaved well and has been surprisingly tolerant of minority opinions. The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban.
So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics.
But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio.
At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness.
A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals. At this moment what is demanded by the prevailing orthodoxy is an uncritical admiration of Soviet Russia. Everyone knows this, nearly everyone acts on it.
And this nation-wide conspiracy to flatter our ally takes place, curiously enough, against a background of genuine intellectual tolerance. For though you are not allowed to criticise the Soviet government, at least you are reasonably free to criticise our own.
Hardly anyone will print an attack on Stalin, but it is quite safe to attack Churchill, at any rate in books and periodicals. And throughout five years of war, during two or three of which we were fighting for national survival, countless books, pamphlets and articles advocating a compromise peace have been published without interference.
More, they have been published without exciting much disapproval.
So long as the prestige of the USSR is not involved, the principle of free speech has been reasonably well upheld.
There are other forbidden topics, and I shall mention some of them presently, but the prevailing attitude towards the USSR is much the most serious symptom. It is, as it were, spontaneous, and is not due to the action of any pressure group.
The servility with which the greater part of the English intelligentsia have swallowed and repeated Russian propaganda from onwards would be quite astounding if it were not that they have behaved similarly on several earlier occasions.
On one controversial issue after another the Russian viewpoint has been accepted without examination and then publicised with complete disregard to historical truth or intellectual decency.
To name only one instance, the BBC celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Army without mentioning Trotsky.Fully authorised by the estate of George Orwell, Animal Farm is created by an independent team formed specifically to deliver Orwell’s vision in an interactive format.
Editions. LCCN (hardcover, "George Orwell: The Freedom of the Press". timberdesignmag.com One of Orwell’s central concerns, both in Animal Farm and in , is the way in which language can be manipulated as an instrument of control.
In Animal Farm, the pigs gradually twist and distort a rhetoric of socialist revolution to justify their behavior and to keep the other animals in the dark.
Soft Cover. Condition: Very Good+. First Edition. A preparation of commentary and notes on George Orwell's political satire 'Animal Farm', offering character analyses, and studies of theme, point of view, setting, story, plot, literary conventions and devices, much more.
Softcover, 57pp., front cover shows sticker removal mark. A nice copy overall. Rare. George Orwell through the novel Animal Farm explores how political systems can suppress individual freedoms.
Though it is an allegory based on the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalin, it is really an exploration of all political uprisings and rebellions. Complement Orwell’s essay with E. B.
White on the free press, cultural icons on censorship and Rudyard Kipling’s satirical poem poking fun at the press. * * * The Freedom Of The Press. Authored by George Orwell, This material remains under copyright and is reproduced by kind permission of the Orwell Estate and Penguin Books.
George Orwell’s villain, a pig named Napoleon, is a product more of sheer opportunity than populist impulse. Many would read Napoleon as a warning against unethical leadership.
That’s only part of the story.