[lit-ideas] Aspidistral and Pedic

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 09:51:36 EDT

R. Paul quotes
>>I'm going to re-read George Orwell's Brave 
>>New World,
>>this time as a comedy.
and writes:
>I'd suggest Huxley's 1984, 
>though, when you finish Orwell.
Small world. 
Indeed: yesterday, I was reading Orwell's bio -- written by Bernard Crick  
(and published by Penguin). I got into Orwell recently through seeing the DVD,  
"A Merry War" (shown in the UK as "Keep the Aspidistra Flying"), an excellent  
production starring Robert E. Grant (as Gordon Comstock) and Helena  
Bonham-Carter (as Rosemary Waterlow). 
Much of "Keep of Aspidistra Flying" -- I have now found a copy of the novel  
-- is 'autobiographical', with only minor changes effected: e.g. Keats Grove, 
in  Hampstead, becomes "Coleridge Grove", etc. 
There's this acronym "B. F.", used systematically. I wonder what it means  
(or meant). It's also used in Crick's biography. 
Anyway, Crick's bio maked for rather sad reading, especially about the last  
days of Orwell, dying at age 47 of TB, and not being able to work properly, 
I especially enjoyed the fresh letters he wrote to his mother as a  child 
(Orwell, not his mother) going to Eton. Crick writes, "These letters lack  
literary value, so it is understandable they were never published", or words to 
that effect. The letters mainly deal with football, and the weather, and have  
the occasional typo, but then they were handwritten.
Orwell called his novel, finally, "Nineteen Eighty-Four". He thought of  
calling it "1984", and "The Last Man in Europe". He worked very hard through 
manuscript for it.
He had a house in Scotland and was hospitalized in Glasgow and visited  
"Bill and Avril were to drive him down to spend the  night at the hotel in 
Craighouse before catching the morning boat. Starting  rather late in the day 
the car slipped in the dusk into an enormous pot-hole. On  a wet and bitterly 
cold night, leaving Orwell in the caar to comfort Richard,  Bill and Avril 
walked back four miles to Ardlussa to get help." (Crick, p. 552). 
My favourite line in "A Merry War" is when Gordon Comstock ("the  best angry 
young man before Porter", writes Crick) recites Elegy written in  a country 
churchyard, changing just the last line of the quartet -- he is  working in a 
publicity agency:
'... and leaves the  world to Botox and to me."
Great minor characters, too, like the many Lambeth types -- though I  suspect 
Lambeth was never as 'terrific' (in the wrong sense) as Orwell (in  1936) 
painted it as?
I note that the OED recognises now 'aspidistral' as a word -- and quotes  
Orwell on it. There's a reference to the OED in "Keep the aspidistra flying"  
when the publicity agency are thinking of a slogan for "PP" -- pedic  
perspiration" (smelly feet). Comstock is said to have checked the OED to find  
there's no 
entry for 'pedic', but it did not seem to matter 'and everyone in  England 
was talking about PP" -- but then this is fiction. 

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts:

  • » [lit-ideas] Aspidistral and Pedic