The depth and extent literature bridges myth and reality is based upon the author's severity of three qualifiers: social freedom, immersion, and history. Social freedom applies to the liberty the author has to create. The less social inhibitions, distractions, and oppressive forces that are placed upon the author's imagination, the more free they are to create metaphors, link historical events, and deepen characters. Immersion is about how deeply they engrain themselves in society. This qualifier is a gradient, in that there aren't two polar extremes--individual and conformist--that all authors either fall into one or the other. Pop fiction is much more socially immersed than critical literary fiction because pop fiction relies on what's socially palatable, and critical literary fiction is more skeptical of society's paradigms and thereby chooses a more offset orient. Lastly, history affects the author's attitude of myth and reality through filling their mental chest of experiences with certain direct material. This material is "heavy," in that it mentally and emotionally weighs more than indirect or non-experiences.
So what? Well, Orwell implies that authors aren't autonomous beings, hence aren't as clever as they may want to think. They are affected by social milieu no matter what, as well personal experiences that happened to them. One can still be intelligent through being socially responsive, but one can't be intelligent and socially reactive, aka, propagandist.
WWII affected the mentality of the Europeans like never before. Page 351: "Almost every European between 1890 and 1930 lived in the tacit belief that civilisation would last for ever. You might be individually fortunate or unfortunate, but you had inside you the feeling that nothing would ever fundamentally change. And in that kind of atmosphere intellectual detachment, and also dilettantism, are possible...The writers who have come up since 1930 have been living in a world in which not only one's life but one's whole scheme of values is constantly menaced. In such circumstances detachment is not possible. You cannot take a purely aesthetic interest in a disease you are dying from; you cannot feel dispassionately about a man who is about to cut your throat." So the social pressures felt by the writers in WWII literally made them simpler because they had difficulty emotionally reconciling the gravity of the social events. This is why the literary outlook in that time changed so suddenly according to Orwell; pre-1930 they focused more on the technique and the art, and post-1930, for a while at least, were didactic. That was their reflection of their attitude toward life; the sharp edge of their artistry had been dulled.
This mental detachment between their artistic minds (previously called myth) and reality is necessary for writers because they need space between themselves and the overarching power mechanisms to write about how those power mechanisms affect human behavior. This artistic paradigm is thick with irony because the closer you are to society the further away your intellect and artistry are from seeing it clearly. If literary writers were philosophers this wouldn't matter, because the philosopher's cutting intellect can only be stopped by a noose or hemlock, which is why they would've been offed immediately in WWII, while author's simply shrunk.
To use Orwell's words, this period of time "destroyed the illusion of pure aestheticism." (p. 352.) Writers don't--because they can't--focus solely on writing for writing's sake, as in focusing purely on technique and the artistic experience. They are hardwired to be affected by society because they can convey both higher-ended ideals transmitted by greater intellects, as well as subjective, trendy detritus by the non-intellectual. According to Orwell writers' "aesthetic judgements are always coloured by our prejudices and beliefs," but that doesn't mean all writers are victims to culture. (p. 352) Writers can be intellectually and politically honest if they don't approach their work with a myriad of assumptions, but on the flip side it serves them to be honest about what their assumptions are so their work can stand on its own, rather than as a vessel for their political, intellectual, or religious propaganda.
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