Eric and Alaric: Orwell and his Shadow

Crook, Tim. 2020. Eric and Alaric: Orwell and his Shadow. George Orwell Studies, 5(1), pp. 55-66. ISSN 2399-1267 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The 70th anniversary of the 1949 publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four was attended by considerable panegyric and celebration of George Orwell and his novel. This paper, rather, analyses one of Orwell’s most ardent critics – Alaric Jacob. Jacob was a fellow alumnus of St Cyprian’s preparatory school in Eastbourne – which Orwell so despised if his posthumously published essay ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’ is to be believed. Jacob once said that if Orwell were Mozart, he would be his living Salieri: in other words, a relatively minor writer condemned to live in the shade of his more celebrated contemporary. More poignantly, Jacob and his first wife were on Orwell’s notorious list of crypto-communists given to the government’s secret propaganda unit, the Information Research Department, in 1949. The paper goes on to examine in detail Jacob’s comments on Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and his oeuvre in general – and concludes that ‘Alaric Jacob and his views on Orwell and his works merit some consideration’.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


1 October 2020Accepted
10 December 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2020 09:50

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2021 10:55

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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