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Title: Liberty compromised? : George Orwell, English Law and the Second World War
Author: Robinson, Emma Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 6063 1920
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis considers George Orwell’s response to the emergency legislation of the Second World War. Considering legal and historical sources alongside his biography and corpus it reassesses the impact of Orwell’s works in the context of his patriotism, Englishness and views on the law. This thesis argues that Orwell’s experiences in Burma and Spain established his expectations – as an Englishman – for the law during a crisis. It juxtaposes Orwell’s pre-war anxiety regarding potentially ‘fascising measures’ to his relative silence when emergency powers were introduced in England, suggesting Orwell tacitly endorsed controversial measures, including internment, in the unique context of the early war. The thesis considers wartime compromises Orwell felt were necessary, noting his complicity in curtailing freedom of speech at the BBC, before his critical voice re-emerged regarding the normalisation of emergency powers. New readings of 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' highlight both their resonance with the English wartime regime and the dangers implicit in emergency legal systems, drawing out Orwell’s concern that eroding English values and legal traditions removed a bulwark against totalitarianism. Given his changing positions concerning individual freedoms this thesis consequently argues for a more nuanced appraisal of Orwell’s reputation as an unwavering defender of civil liberties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Birmingham
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BJ Ethics ; DA Great Britain ; K Law (General) ; PR English literature