"He do the police in different voices" :the influence of His time in the Burma Police on George Orwell's writing

Williams, N H (2013) "He do the police in different voices" :the influence of His time in the Burma Police on George Orwell's writing. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract This thesis analyses the case to be made for the seminal influence that Orwell's policing in Burma exerted on his writing. There appears to be little recognition from literary critics that five, formative years in the Burma Police shaped or enriched Orwell's writing, other than in respect of subject matter and location. This thesis seeks to challenge that view by identifying Orwell's police-based expertise in the techniques of interrogation, obtaining confessions, surveillance and diary-writing. Orwell received twenty-five hours weekly law tuition in Police School and was inculcated in the techniques of sparse, legal prose together with the advocacy skills of prosecuting counsel. Accordingly, this thesis also explores the artistic link between Orwell's legal training and subsequent work. Orwell's police tenure coincided with rigorous attempts to eradicate the police practice of extracting confession under duress, even torture and this thesis asserts that such harrowing first-hand experiences invested Part III of Nineteen Eighty-Four with its forensic detail and emotional immediacy. Furthermore, Orwell's training as police observer and surveillance practitioner, this thesis argues, added muscularity to his observational style while, perhaps diminishing its analytical potency. Orwell's early non-fiction displayed characteristics consistent with "thinking and writing like a lawyer" albeit, almost exclusively like a prosecuting lawyer. However, the catharsis of his prose and the receding memories of police prosecuting enabled Orwell to mature artistically as evidenced by his mid-1930s to rnid-1940s essays which were predominantly defence-based, often prefaced by "In Defence of. .. " Broadening his binary (prosecution or defence) model, Orwell's rnid-1940s essays adopted the conventional, tri-partite 'prosecution-defence-judge' paradigm culminating in Orwell delivering a verdict from his stance of self-appointed arbiter and presiding judge. Discontent with convention and stasis, however, Orwell next challenged the 'judge-imposed' litigation paradigm resulting in his adopting the role of mediator rather than judge, as evidenced in certain of his last and most persuasive essays. This iteration anticipated the twentieth century's most radical legal transformation, namely the replacement of litigation with mediation and is, this thesis posits, one reason why Orwell continues to play a unique and compelling role in contemporary Western jurisprudence, remaining the most cited author in British and American law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Childs, Peterpchilds@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 14:14
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:56
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10967

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