Saturday, October 21, 2017

Ten polemical masterpieces that transformed the west

At the Guardian Will Hutton tagged ten of the best manifestos and tracts, including:
Animal Farm by George Orwell (1946)

This paradigm-changing novel by the democratic socialist and Observer writer George Orwell is a satire aimed at undermining Stalin and, as crucially, the admiration in which he was held by many in the British intelligentsia. The animals, led by two young pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, take over Manor Farm in an act of revolution and proceed to run it in the name of equality. What happens in practice is that Napoleon drives out Snowball and abandons all his plans for social improvement, works the gallant horse Boxer to death and turns into exactly the same figure as the farmer the animals displaced. “All animals are equal,” proclaims the now very fat pig, “but some are more equal than others.” Animal Farm became a byword for how Stalinism worked in practice, and snuffed out any realistic chance the British communist party had of becoming a major political force.
Read about another entry on the list.

Animal Farm is among Alexei Sayle's ten top books about revolutionaries, Lindsey Lewis Smithson's six essential books that were almost never published, Alex Clark's ten best quotable novels, Piers Torday's top ten books with animal villains, Robson Green's six best books, Heather Brooke's five books on holding power to account, Chuck Klosterman's most important books; it appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best pigs in literature and Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of well-known and beloved science fiction and fantasy novels that were rejected over and over.

--Marshal Zeringue