Orwell’s "Politics and the English Language" in the Age of Pseudocracy visits the essay as if for the first time, clearing away lore about the essay and responding to the prose itself. It shows how many of Orwell’s rules and admonitions are far less useful than they are famed to be, but it also shows how some of them can be refurbished for our age, and how his major claim—that politics corrupts language, which then corrupts political discourse further, and so on indefinitely—can best be re-deployed today. "Politics and the English Language" has encouraged generations of writers and readers and teachers and students to take great care, to be skeptical and clear-sighted. The essay itself requires a fresh, clear, skeptical analysis so that it can, with reapplication, reclaim its status as a touchstone in our era of the rule of falsehood: the age of "pseudocracy."
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Be Careful What You Assign—Your Students Might Read It
2. Re-Reading "Politics and the English Language"
3. You Can’t Handle the Truthiness: How "Politics and the English Language" Suits
4. Orwell’s Corpora Delectorum: How Orwell’s Memorable Offences
5. Toward Habits of Discernment: Refurbishing Orwell’s Lists Amid Pseudocracy