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More public-spirited pigs [May. 30th, 2016|05:26 pm]
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From the British Library website, the rejection letter sent to George Orwell by Faber & Faber, declining to publish Animal Farm (with thanks to the Guardian for the transcription:
I think my own dissatisfaction with this apologue is that the effect is simply one of negation. It ought to excite some sympathy with what the author wants, as well as sympathy with his objections to something: and the positive point of view, which I take to be generally Trotskyite, is not convincing... And after all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm - in fact, there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs.
Signed: T.S. Eliot

[User Picture]From: nineweaving
2016-05-30 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Sadly, the pigs don't play fair.

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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-05-31 09:55 am (UTC)
Indeed. Persuading the pigs to be more public spirited has not turned out to be the easy option.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-31 08:52 am (UTC)
Orwell was a great speaker of truth to power but I'm not keen on his fiction. If I'd been in Eliot's shoes I'd have turned down Animal Farm too.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-05-31 10:02 am (UTC)
The letter is overall perfectly reasonable - this is a very selective extract. Eliot's main reason, he says, is that this is not the time to be criticising our allies.

I don't think he had any problem with Orwell's fiction: he regrets that passing on Animal Farm means Faber won't get to publish any future books.

Despite which, fiction isn't what Orwell did best!
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