Poetic Justice: Young Poets and the Good Society

July 29, 2014 2:37 PM

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"[T]he slovenliness of our language," George Orwell reminds, "makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." The more foolish our thoughts, the more "ugly and inaccurate" our language becomes. "Political language," Orwell continues, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

Orwell was born 101 years ago last month, and wrote his famous essay "Politics and the English Language" in 1946. The ideological anxieties may have changed since Orwell wrote, but his concerns for the quality of our language strikes as hard as ever. We depend upon our language to do justice to the ...

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