The American connection: George Orwell, 'literary Trotskyism' and the New York intellectuals

Newsinger, John
March 1999
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Spring99, Vol. 64 Issue 1, p23
Academic Journal
This article examines some of the contributions made by British Labour Party supporter George Orwell to U.S. journals and their reciprocal influence on his own thinking. Orwell developed his political ideas as part of a continuing dialogue with the non-Communist Left. His involvement with the literary Trotskyists of the U.S.-based Partisan Review was an important part of this dialogue, Orwell's reputation rests so much on his being an exponent of Englishness that his U.S. connection has been virtually ignored. His London Letters are often treated as part of his literary canon, rather than as deliberate and self-conscious interventions in a particular political milieu. But Orwell's contributions to Partisan Review were those of a literary Trotskyist, a person influenced by revolutionary socialist ideas and arguments, but always drawing his own conclusions. He always maintained a critical and independent position, at the same time as contributing to and being influenced by debates on the U.S. Far Left, as for example in his attitude towards the war and debates on the class nature of the Soviet Union.


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