A Criticism of Orwell's 'Inside The Whale' (1940)
by Philip Atkinson (2008)

The essay 'Inside The Whale' is an attempt to criticise the state of English literature in 1940, by using an interpretation of the politics of recent wars, including the then unfolding second world war. However the result is an almost meaningless collection of obscure,

Unlike Whitman we live in a shrinking world. The "democratic vistas" have ended in barb wire. There is less a feeling of creation and growth, less and less emphasis on the cradle, endlessly rocking, more and more emphasis on the teapot, endlessly stewing.


Personally I would not speak so lightly of murder. It so happens that I have seen the bodies of numbers of murdered men — I don't mean killed in battle, I mean murdered. Therefore I have some conception of what murder means


It is one of those books that are slowly matured in poverty and obscurity, by people who know what they have got to do and therefore able to wait.

sentiments, that sometimes reveal only the conceit of the author.

The trouble was that by about 1930 there was no activity, except perhaps scientific research, the arts, and left-wing politics, that a thinking person could believe in.

While using meaningless phrases

intellectual foci, lumpen-proletarian fringe, real-politik of the inner mind, Whitmanesque, ancient boneheap,tedious preciosity, twilight-of-the-gods feeling, rentier-intellectual, patriotism of the deracinated

mixed with a sprinkling of plain English that provide the only clear statements in the work.

At this date it hardly even needs a war to bring home to us the disintegration of our society and the increasing helplessness of all decent people.

A use of English that condemns "Inside The Whale" as mainly nonsense.