The British Socialists in the 1940's made their appraisal of literary intellect a function of political agenda. The first certainly doesn't necessitate the second, yet they were stitched together. Orwell is clear that good writers produce art that is accessible to the common man, representative of the common man's reality. This doesn't mean that writing is always on the side of the underprivileged, nor that one need be underprivileged to write. There are multiple nuances of common man. First, there's the meaning that represents the man who makes himself, who is largely unaffected by the musings of wealth and politics showmanship, whose values are more domestic than abroad, more familial than abstract. Then there's the nuance that represents the common man within all of us. This represents our drive to survive, our sex drive, and our compulsion to use technology in some form to adapt to the world around us. These are common things because they are universals, and although political agendas are certainly not universal, good writing perennially delves further into how these basal drives are acted upon, manipulated, and levied against us by other individuals, and larger governing bodies. Fiction may be definition be "not real" because it never directly happened, but the phenomena which it is based are very much real.
The Left had a form of pretension (ironic, no?) that basically believed if a writer was high-brow and interested in technique rather than simply content, he was intellectually reactionary, rather than gritty and progressive. As if an interest in technique dislocates one from reality. I can see how this may be valid in an academic sense where the same lesson plan is driven into students over and over and over, but we're talking about public intellectuals writing about social, political and economic issues. High-brow writing pushes the envelope on what we see as art, requiring our intellects to stretch further and further, which all humans are capable of. It was thought in the 1940's by the Left that these types of writers were bad because they didn't represent the "common man" as well as those who simply settled for the popular literary devices that everyone was used to.
What is difficult to reconcile is how the Left thought being reactionary wasn't progressive. Isn't good writing tapped into social milieu, therefore reactionary by nature? Literature observes, recasts, and if it's good enough, forecasts. But the very reason it taps into the common man in all of us is because of those universals of love, hate, sex, revenge, etc. Just because they're experimented with doesn't mean the writer is disconnected, nor does it mean, on the inverse, that if a person has a different political affiliation, he or she is a bad writer to the same extent. These appraisals and assumptions simply don't reconcile, and looks from my purview as simply a method of obtaining and manipulating political power. The Socialist movement alienated the literary intelligentsia because they couldn't use them as megaphones because the writers were being writers, rather than lobbyists. Thus, the Socialists saw them as an enemy because they weren't an ally. Page 473: "In the years following the last war the best English writers were reactionary in tendency, though most of them took no direct part in politics. After them, about 1930, there came a generation of writers who tried very hard to be actively useful in the Left Wing movement. Numbers of them joined the Communist Party, and got there exactly the same reception as they would have got in the conservative Party. That is, they were first regarded with patronage and suspicion, and then, when it was found that they would not or could not turn themselves into gramophone records, they were thrown out on their ears. Most of them retreated into individualism." Orwell said the next generation of writers were thus generally pacifistic, which as a previous post shows, ignores the basal fact that war will and must happen over time because human cultures are not universally compliant. Due to this dislocation, these new writers weren't as directly aware of Fascism's vitriol, which ultimately relinquished the writer's primary function, that being social sensitivity. The Socialist's allergy to high-brow writing fulfilled their own prophesy through insulating and disconnecting the literary process which could've helped the common man communicate with one another about the woes of self and civilization.
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