There, on show like an icon, with special lighting from below,
was a portrait of Lenin.
FABIAN'S WEBB WORSHIPPED LENIN
"For her I realized, the place was a shrine; she looked positively exalted there -
uplifted, worshipful in an almost frightening way,
like someone possessed."
To Orwell Today,
re: ORWELL NOT A FABIAN
The book "Fabian Freeway" identifies George Orwell between 1942 and 1947 becoming a member of the Fabian Research Bureau.
I am like you, finding this difficult to believe. I have microfilm records that he was a speaker for the Fabians, but cannot understand how the author could have mistaken speaker for Fabian member.
Do you have an explanation? Especially since Fabian researchers admitted 1942 to 1947 worked at BBC or adviser BBC programmers just like him.
David Alan Goodman
I've never heard of the book "Fabian Freeway" but if it says that Orwell was a member of the Fabians, the obvious explanation is that its author is lying because Orwell was never a Fabian. And in ORWELL NOT A FABIAN I quote Orwell's own published words expressing his thoughts on the Webbs who were the main Fabians of the time.
Yes, Orwell was known to have been invited to speak one time at a Fabian meeting of some sort, but that surely doesn't make him a Fabian.
I'm not sure what you mean by your last paragraph. Are you implying that just because there were Fabians working at the BBC at some of the same time as Orwell worked there that he must therefore be a Fabian too?
I learned a very interesting fact about Beatrice Webb a few years ago when I read the biography MUGGERIDGE, by Richard Ingrams. It turns out that Beatrice Webb was the aunt of Malcolm Muggeridge's wife, Kitty, and it was through her Communist connections that Muggeridge got posted as Moscow correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. And it also turns out that Beatrice Webb was such an adherent of Lenin that she had a secret shrine to him in a bedroom of her home:
"...Another curious incident which remained in Malcolm's mind took place on a subsequent visit by Kitty and Malcolm to Passfield Corner [the Webb's home]. As they were leaving, Beatrice Webb asked Malcolm to come upstairs. She opened the door of a small and otherwise empty room. There, on show like an icon, with special lighting from below, was a portrait of Lenin (presented to her by the Soviet Government). It was not a very good likeness, but the way in which it was displayed and lit made it look dramatic; 'The Mongolian features, the high cheek bones, the cruel mouth, all stood out as if they were illuminated from within as well as from without . . . For her I realized, the place was a shrine; she looked positively exalted there - uplifted, worshipful in an almost frightening way, like someone possessed. A frail, aged, bourgeois lady, wearing, as she usually did, a grey silk dress and pretty lace cap on her head, prostrating herself, metaphorically speaking, before the founding father of the 20th-century totalitarian state, the arch terrorist of our time.' The scene stayed with him as an important and vivid symbol of materialism triumphant."
I think the passage above reinforces (even though he wouldn't have known about it) Orwell's correct opinion that Beatrice Webb was a Communist (not a Socialist) at heart. And by extension her organization - the Fabians - would have held no interest for Orwell who, as everyone who has read "Animal Farm" and "1984" knows, was an avowed anti-Communist in word and deed.
All the best,
...conversation continues at ORWELL FOR NONE & ALL
GARETH JONES PROOF DISCUSSION
ASSIGNMENT IN UTOPIA
SOVIET UNION FAMINE EXPOSURE, 1930-1933
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