New essay

I forgot to post this when it came out. (Sorry.) I’ve got a new essay up at the Los Angeles Review of Books. This one takes a look at George Orwell’s Animal Farm, through the prism of John Reed’s parody, Snowball’s Chance:

Orwell, with his innate dislike for ideology and abstraction… [was] sensitive to the excesses of totalitarianism at a time when many were not, and that sensitivity is a prerequisite to any kind of political literature — to any reasonable politics at all. But a political literature, and a political understanding, that stops there is a deeply impoverished one. Problems exist, and they need to be addressed — and only shouting “no” will not accomplish that. Reed’s novel fails on many levels, but it succeeds in convincing the reader that merely removing Napoleon and his “Animalism” does not by itself guarantee that Animal Farm would be a happier place — and in so doing, he finally strikes a blow at Orwell’s original novella. Essentially, Orwell’s late, dystopian works — Animal Farm and 1984 — are the beginning of a conversation, not its end.

You can read the rest of the essay here.

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