6.7.13

James Smith, British Writers and MI5 Surveillance 1930–1960

Review published in the Times Literary Supplement
Recording 'Voice' for the BBC Eastern Service. Orwell is third from the right. (Source)
From Alex Danchev (TLS) (link via Johann Gregory): ‘In 1941 Eric Blair became a temporary Talks Producer in the Indian Section of the BBC’s Eastern Service, charged with shoring up support for the Allied war effort among the Indian intelligentsia. Blair himself was acutely conscious of the moral minefield into which he forward-marched. “If I broadcast as George Orwell I am as it were selling my literary reputation, which so far as India is concerned probably arises chiefly from books of anti-imperialist tendency.” It was precisely that reputation which attracted the BBC – “the propaganda advantages of Orwell’s name are obvious”, as a management memo put it. The organs of the state sought to claim him and perhaps to tame him, or at least to vet him and to chain him. The BBC was in every sense an Orwellian world.’ [Read More]

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