Orwell as Prose Stylist

In The New York Times Book Review [2-28-10] on p. 4, I read in a letter from Quade Winter that a professor once said the following:  “If you want to achieve true mastery of English prose, read Gibbon and Orwell, then shoot yourself.”

Aside from its defeatism, that claim seems to me curious.  I have never found Orwell a master of English prose.  I have learned from Orwell despite Orwell’s prose style.  Orwell’s imagination and sentiments greatly outstrip the slog that is his writing, in my view.

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One Response to “Orwell as Prose Stylist”

  1. O. Says:

    One might read Sam Johnson–but not try to imitate his style. The poems of W.H. Auden, A.E. Housman, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and Edward Thomas can help writers of prose, in my opinion.


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