‘The Prevention of Literature’ is perhaps George Orwell’s most famous essay defending freedom of expression. Published in January 1946 in Polemic, the essay sees Orwell calling upon intellectuals of all backgrounds and disciplines to stand up against literary censorship of various kinds.
‘Reflections on Vers Libre’ is a 1917 essay by T. S. Eliot. Perhaps surprisingly, the essay begins with Eliot claiming that vers libre doesn’t exist, for reasons that Eliot goes on to outline in the course of the essay. You can read some of ‘Reflections on Vers Libre’ here before […]
‘Inside the Whale’ is a long essay by George Orwell (1903-50), published in 1940. The title of Orwell’s essay refers to the biblical Book of Jonah, in which the prophet Jonah is swallowed by a great fish (although, as Orwell notes, received wisdom tends to substitute ‘whale’ for ‘fish’).
Sir Philip Sidney’s An Apology for Poetry, also known as The Defence of Poesy, was written in 1579-80). It has at least one great claim to fame: it’s the first work of ‘literary criticism’ in English. Sidney’s essay is an ‘apology’ for, or defence of, the art of poetry, but […]
‘Why I Write’ is an essay by George Orwell, published in 1946 after the publication of his novella Animal Farm and before he wrote his final novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. The essay is an insightful piece of memoir about Orwell’s early years and how he developed as a writer, from harbouring […]