The Struggle with Ambivalence: Greene, Huxley and Orwell
The paper argues that, as writers on the Left, the work of Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell demonstrates some striking similarities. Focusing upon their publications from the early 1930s to the end of World War Two the paper proposes that each struggles towards and against a political-philosophical ambivalence that tells us something about the period. For Greene this was a struggle involving materialism and spiritualism; for Huxley it concerned mysticism and the sociological imagination; for Orwell it concerned aesthetics and revolution. Though each writer failed to fully systematise the ambivalences they expressed their honesty and openness contrasts with the dogmatism of the contemporary Left and Right and prefigures the 'radical pragmatism' of post-war reconstruction.
Keywords: Greene, Huxley, Orwell, politics, philosophy
Dr. Tony Fitzpatrick
Reader, Sociology & Social Policy, Nottingham University