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George Orwell joins blogging fray

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George Orwell's diaries are to be made available online as a blog, starting from next Saturday.

The author, whose incisive and ominous political writing ensured his name's appearance in any piece of text with the words 'liberties' and 'civil' for all eternity, kept a journal between 1938 and 1942. The first entry will be posted online on 9 August, 70 years to the day after the great man penned it, according to The Telegraph.

Orwell, in common with most many a few more canny modern bloggers, sensibly kept his personal scribblings separate from his political thoughts, which he started keeping note of on 7 September 1938. The blog, which will show one entry a day as Orwell wrote them, is being published by the website of The Orwell Prize, given for political writing. (The site's somewhat woolly announcement is here, but then they are excited, bless 'em.)

As several the majority of all 21st century bloggers do, the great man noted plenty of mundane quotidian details for posterity. The Today programme on BBC Radio 4 previewed the online event with readings of extracts by Orwell's son Richard Blair (yes, the irony is noted), from which listeners learned that 22 August 1938 was a "warmish day, with showers". The writer of the seminal Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm went on to consider in some detail the anatomy of the "enormous" slugs* that emerged after the rain.

However, such humdrum potterings soon give way to typically searing and engaging personal accounts - the diaries cover the start of the Second World War, along with Orwell's travels to Morocco after being injured fighting in the Spanish Civil War. In all the diaries promise further insight into a fascinating figure, and will no doubt become the only thing worth reading online except for all those other brilliant personal blogs by political geniuses you have bookmarked.

Readers expecting this piece to end on some zinger about Big Brother will be sorely disappointed and/or summarily dispatched to Room 101. ®

Bootnote

* Orwell's fascination with hermaphroditic gastropods almost led to a pivotal role for them in Animal Farm, but he was dissuaded when he realised that "Four legs good, no legs better" lacked that certain something.

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