The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from April 2019

The thing, to the thing

April 23rd, 2019 · No Comments

“What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is to surrender them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

Not unlike

April 22nd, 2019 · No Comments

“One can cure oneself of the not ‘un-’ formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.” – George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (emphasis in original)

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

The seventh question is why bother in the first place

April 21st, 2019 · No Comments

“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

Who’ll stand the next round

April 20th, 2019 · No Comments

“Much of what goes by the name of pleasure is simply an effort to destroy consciousness. If one started by asking, what is man? what are his needs? how can he best express himself? one would discover that merely having the power to avoid work and live one’s life from birth to death in electric […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

And others would have been just another con-man

April 19th, 2019 · No Comments

“It is difficult to think of any politician who has lived to be eighty and still been regarded as a success. What we call a ‘great’ statesman normally means one who dies before his policy has had time to take effect. If Cromwell had lived a few years longer he would probably have fallen from […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Politics & Law

In many respects, the same as the others

April 18th, 2019 · No Comments

“ ‘Natural’ death, almost by definition, means something slow, smelly and painful.” – George Orwell, “How the Poor Die”

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

The remainders

April 17th, 2019 · No Comments

“Until one has some kind of professional relationship with books one does not discover how bad the majority of them are.” – George Orwell, “Confessions of a Book Reviewer”

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

Penance for your sins

April 16th, 2019 · No Comments

“The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.” – George Orwell, […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

Fire up your fighter jet

April 15th, 2019 · No Comments

“The great age of democracy and of national self-determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. After the invention of the flintlock, and before the invention of the percussion cap, the musket was a fairly efficient weapon, and at the same time so simple that it could be produced almost anywhere. Its combination […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Which, most often, they turn against themselves

April 14th, 2019 · No Comments

“It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Bidness is bidness

April 13th, 2019 · No Comments

“Chiefly in England and the United States, games were built up into a heavily-financed activity, capable of attracting vast crowds and rousing savage passions, and the infection spread from country to country. It is the most violently combative sports, football and boxing, that have spread the widest. There cannot be much doubt that the whole […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

Same as with elections

April 12th, 2019 · No Comments

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.” – George Orwell, “The Sporting Spirit”

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

A touch here and a sprig there

April 11th, 2019 · No Comments

“When the shriveled skin of the ordinary is stuffed out with meaning it satisfies the senses amazingly.” – Virginia Woolf, Orlando

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Virginia Woolf

Impoverished all

April 10th, 2019 · No Comments

“Within the island of his own nature, no man has enough resources.” – Samuel Johnson, “Skia” (trans. John Wain)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Samuel Johnson

Shout, shout, let it all out

April 9th, 2019 · No Comments

“I try not to talk about being a woman because I don’t want to be defined that way. I try not to talk about religion or politics because I am at odds with the people where I live. I try not to talk about my opinions, because who cares. I try not to talk at […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Stop, children, what’s that sound

April 8th, 2019 · No Comments

“Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. . . . Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Politics & Law

The great zero-sum game

April 7th, 2019 · No Comments

“A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist—that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating—but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Politics & Law

Not enough air in this room

April 6th, 2019 · No Comments

“The intellect, divine as it is, and all worshipful, has a habit of lodging in the most seedy of carcasses, and often, alas, acts the cannibal among the other faculties so that often, where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Virginia Woolf

It can’t be avoided

April 5th, 2019 · No Comments

“The first thing that we demand of a wall is that it shall stand up. If it stands up, it is a good wall, and the question of what purpose it serves is separable from that. And yet even the best wall in the world deserves to be pulled down if it surrounds a concentration […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Not even impeachable

April 4th, 2019 · No Comments

“In an age like our own, when the artist is an altogether exceptional person, he must be allowed a certain amount of irresponsibility, just as a pregnant woman is. Still, no one would say that a pregnant woman should be allowed to commit murder, nor would anyone make such a claim for the artist, however […]

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Not to mention disgraces

April 3rd, 2019 · No Comments

“Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” – George Orwell, “Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dalí”

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Tags: George Orwell · Lit & Crit

Go figure

April 2nd, 2019 · No Comments

“Marx’s ultimate motives may well have been envy and spite, but this does not prove that his conclusions were false.” – George Orwell, “Arthur Koestler”

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Tags: Economics · George Orwell · Lit & Crit

The worst rash you’ve ever had

April 1st, 2019 · No Comments

“If it is rash to walk into a lion’s den unarmed, rash to navigate the Atlantic in a rowing boat, rash to stand on one foot on the top of St. Paul’s, it is still more rash to go home alone with a poet. A poet is Atlantic and lion in one. While one drowns […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Virginia Woolf