donderdag 23 april 2009
Mensen en heiligen
Many people genuinely do not want to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings.
George Orwell, 1903-1950.
Het prentje: Orwell's officiële paspoortfoto, toen hij nog koloniaal ambtenaar was. Dat soort snorren was, zullen we maar aannemen, in die dagen nog onverdacht.
Gelicht uit Orwell's file bij de geheime dienst MI5, waarin we ondermeer lezen: "This man has advanced Communist views, and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings. He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours."
Dat moest slecht aflopen.
Overigens: gisteren werden de jaarlijkse Orwell Prizes uitgereikt. In de categorie beste boek-met-inhoud won Andrew Brown, journalist bij The Guardian, met Fishing in Utopia. Sweden and the Future that Disappeared. Een stukje uit het juryrapport:
“The book tells, in a style which is both charming and crystalline, the story of how the author fell in love with Sweden and everything Swedish, including his first wife, the fishing and the socialism, more particularly the spirit of equality which seemed to pervade the whole country. And when he falls out of love, it is not a straightforward disillusionment but rather a rueful recognition of how incredibly hard it was and is for a country of dirt-poor farmers to emerge into an industrial nation without losing some of the idealism in the affluence. The descriptions of fishing are as enchanting as anything since Izaak Walton, but in its light and easy way the book is as profound as it is enchanting.”
Hier de shortlist en hier de longlist van de geselecteerde boeken. Er zitten ongetwijfeld nog fijne dingen tussen.