‘The Orwell Tour’ Oliver Lewis – Book Review (NetGalley)

Part travelogue, part biography, this book (Pub Date 6 Apr 2023) flits seemlessly through timelines and cultures in a profound, insightful manner, almost Dalrymplesque in its style in places, albeit minus the architectural sensibilities; it is a rainbow patchwork held together convincingly by the towering, restless mind that is George Orwell.

And I very much appreciate the hard work that has gone into producing this book, clearly a work of patience driven by fascination.

Like many, I was already familiar with Orwell’s two most famous works from school. I was not well acquainted with his biography, nor that of his native restlessness and originality, as diverse as his many dwelling places during his life.

What emerges from these pages is an enjoyable exploration, a voyage, if you will, around this literary giant. To many Orwell remains an enigma, following the opposite course of a lot of people during their lives. For example, I began with strong leftward leanings which have morphed slowly to the centre in later life; the course of Orwell’s life was somewhat opposite to that, as the author explains well, perhaps understandable considering his upper middle class origins during the latter years of the Indian Raj.

Orwell’s experiences in Spain during 1936-7, do indeed seem seminal too, correcting his own left leaning path, to the point that by the end of his life he seemed to be once again embracing a patriotism which, to be fair, he never abandoned at all. Maybe this is why he is often acclaimed and disliked by both right and left.

The author’s descriptive passages relating to India, Eton, Spain, London and Wigan in particular, are to me most enjoyable and profound, stating that England’s long term problem with itself is still as much about social hierarchy as it is poverty. And that pigeon racing in Lancashire is still popular today, hanging like those slowly decaying symbols of a once powerful cotton industry.

What does come across well is Orwell’s refutation of pigeon holes. I think he understood the futility of hanging tags around people; why shouldn’t socialists be patriotic? And why shouldn’t conservatives embrace redistribution of wealth? England? Whose England? indeed.

As Malcolm Muggeridge was to point out at Orwell’s death, to many he was an enigma, both an arch conservative in relation to England and its customs and traditions, as well as someone willing to embrace a revolution in thought, even if he was to see the error in the latter, particularly during the emergence of the Cold War.

I would point out one other error though from the text – Henry VI of England was not the first Yorkist king of England; that particular honour falls to Edward IV, brother of the future Richard III.

That said, this was a most enjoyable and enlightening read and one which I would wholeheartedly recommend to any open minded and curious person wishing to know more about one of the most important authors of the 20th century.


Copyright Francis 2022

Revolutions and the Abolition of Man — The Imaginative Conservative (Reblog)

C.S. Lewis wrote prophetically about the Abolition of Man. We are witnessing its literal fulfillment. If history unfolds in 500-year epochs, then we are on the cusp of a new epoch. 1,456 more words

Revolutions and the Abolition of Man — The Imaginative Conservative

USA Pluto Return, February 20 2022: It’s Drastic Times

The date of February 20 2022 marks the exact point of Pluto’s return to the place it was when the Declaration of Independence was signed at Philadelphia on July 4 1776, in late Capricorn.

Back then, the United States, primarily because of punitive British tax laws, was trying to wrestle free from the straitjacket of imperial control.

Some might suggest that right now the USA is fighting a similar battle for independence from an even more insidious controlling power, where even money, the creation of it – in fact the very nature of it – is in dispute.

Certainly, few would argue that the country is not divided, culturally and economically in a way it hasn’t been since the Civil War in the 1860s. Can a lot of this really be seen symbolised by Pluto’s return?

Bad Star

First of all, I do not believe that Pluto is a bringer of anything good. Many try to sanitise it as ‘transformative’, a force for necessarily destruction and renewal. That these are some of the symptoms of Pluto’s influence is undeniable.

However, in reality Pluto is a bad star, it can bring disaster, which is a word literally meaning ‘bad star’ in Latin. Pluto, a bit like its mythology, undermines, distorts and usually in secrecy, behind the scenes – and in a mask.

Unfortunately for the US, Pluto’s presence in the second house of finance and security, has always been and will always be, problematic. The very security of the nation has undergone many economic disasters and is experiencing another right now, along with the rest of the world, where inflation and debt are spiralling.

Drastic

And in Capricorn, which is about similarly practical, material, business and political concerns, the drastic distortions and divisions of our time have reached absurd levels, where there is seemingly no common ground left between liberals and conservatives. This is true worldwide too because Pluto’s transit through the highly political Goat has been common to all.

What is more, because Pluto represents hidden enemies and fifth columnists, it is not easy to see who you are up against. The one benefit of Pluto’s return may just be that, however; in the current exreme distortions being faced, the enemy could be revealing himself in a way not seen previously, or at least not since Independence.

There are some conditions in the US’s favour. Firstly, in the 1776 chart, Sagittarius is rising. Freedom is a word very much traditionally associated with America, and the country is going to have to reappraise what that word actually means.

Freedom

Sagittarius is the sign of freedom, ruled by the Greater Benefic, Jupiter, which in the July 4 chart is in Cancer, conjunct Venus in the 8th house of inheritance and investments. Here is the love of home, family, of being in love with the homeland and investing a lot of effort in it. It is this traditional national trait which is now being reinvigorated and will need to be, to essentially save what America is – or was?

The Sun (identity) is also nearby to Jupiter in the 1776 chart, with the fixed star Sirius in between. Sirius has a guardian-like nature and Americans are going to have to resort to this approach, this love of home, with pride, honour and committment if they are to save the traditional essence of their country in the long run.

So Pluto’s return, is in fact a window in a long process of drastic, traumatic financial and economic change, which began way back in 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn.

Green Shoots

Pluto enters Aquarius in 2023, when we should begin to see, with some perspective, just what has been happening in recent years, and especially from 2020 to 2022, when Pluto was so close to that point of return.

And right now, there is a conjunction between Venus and Mars in Capricorn in the second house of the US chart. If ever there was a time to begin again, financially, it is now.

But the north node of the Moon in late Taurus, close to Algol the demon star, also warns us of the dangers of this time. Always proceed with caution, but we will have to wait until the spring to see true signs of those green shoots.


Copyright Francis 2022

The Rise of Common-Good Conservatism — The Imaginative Conservative (Reblog)

The concerns of common-good conservatives about the harms caused by globalism and corporate wokeness are real. And to the extent that their calls for reform in the conservative outlook reflect those real concerns, then such calls are to be taken seriously. 2,245 more words

The Rise of Common-Good Conservatism — The Imaginative Conservative

Truthfulness Is Not Optional — The Imaginative Conservative (Reblog)

In a time when crime and inflation are rising together, when independent nations are threatened by massive powers eager to consume them, and when dispassionate public discourse seems impossible, it’s bracing to remember the fairness and generosity that make justice and good judgment possible. 1,143 more words

Truthfulness Is Not Optional — The Imaginative Conservative