Why I Write



Algunos pasajes del ensayo de George Orwell donde aclara porque escribe, qué sentía de niño que le provocó el escribir y el trabajo de reconciliar su vida interior con la realidad de su época. Al final, para saber un poquito más, algo sobre Indian Imperial Police. Señoras y señores Why I Write, de George Orwell, …

Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose:
(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.
(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement.
(iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.
(iv) Political purpose.–Using the word 'political' in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples' idea of the kind of society that they should strive after…

In a peaceful age I might have written ornate or merely descriptive books, and might have remained almost unaware of my political loyalties. As it is I have been forced into becoming a sort of pamphleteer. First I spent five years in an unsuitable profession (the Indian Imperial Police, in Burma), and then I underwent poverty and the sense of failure. This increased my natural hatred of authority and made me for the first time fully aware of the existence of the working classes, and the job in Burma had given me some understanding of the nature of imperialism: but these experiences were not enough to give me an accurate political orientation. Then came Hitler, the Spanish Civil War, etc…
The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, AGAINST totalitarianism and FOR democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows….
What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, 'I am going to produce a work of art'. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience…
The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.
It is not easy. It raises problems of construction and of language, and it raises in a new way the problem of truthfulness. Let me give just one example of the cruder kind of difficulty that arises. My book about the Spanish civil war, HOMAGE TO CATALONIA, is of course a frankly political book, but in the main it is written with a certain detachment and regard for form. I did try very hard in it to tell the whole truth without violating my literary instincts. But among other things it contains a long chapter, full of newspaper quotations and the like, defending the Trotskyists who were accused of plotting with Franco…
ANIMAL FARM was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole. I have not written a novel for seven years, but I hope to write another fairly soon…
All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand… (Paragraphs from Why I Write, by George Orwell) 
Kitchener, 1915
Kitchener, 1915

Para saber
Indian Imperial Police era parte del sistema de administración policial en la India Británica, establecida en 1861. Sus miembros regían más de 300 millones de personas en India, Pakistán, Bangladesh y Birmania (entonces bajo el dominio del Rajá Británico).
George Orwell  sirvió en esta organización en Birmania, llegando al rango de Assistant District Superintendent, primero en Insein y después en Moulmein. Orwell escribió que cómo estando en contacto “con el trabajo sucio del imperio” había afectado sus puntos de vista personal y político. Algunos de los trabajos que refieren a sus experiencias personales incluyen "A Hanging" (1931), que tiene lugar en la notoria prisión Insein, su novela Burmese Days (1934) y "Shooting an Elephant" (1936),
Artículos relacionados
George Orwell, algo de su vida.                      
Nineteen Eighty-four, resumen de la clásica historia de George Orwell.
Por qué escribo, algunos párrafos en castellano del ensayo Why I Write.
De la web
George Orwell and Journalism, Christopher Hitchens speaks about George Orwell, his works and political opinions, and his poverty. Really interesting! Five minutes of video from Youtube.