A 'Shallow Piece of Naughtiness': George Orwell on Political Realism
George Orwell's concern for political language and political morality has long been recognised, but his thought on 'political realism' has not received the attention that it deserves, especially from scholars of International Relations. This article examines his treatment of realism in his journalism of the 1940s and in his last novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. It argues that although Orwell's account, assembled from his study of the political discourse of his day and the work of contemporary intellectuals, was deeply flawed, it asked important questions about the account of political motivation underpinning realism. It suggests that Orwell intended Nineteen Eighty-Four to satirise or parody the idea of 'power-hunger' he thought realists depended upon and to demonstrate how realism might generate its own form of totalitarianism.
Millennium: Journal of International Studies