10.6.40

Have just heard, though it is not in the papers, that Italy has declared war…. The Allied troops are withdrawing from Norway, the reason given being that they can be used elsewhere and Narvik after its capture was rendered useless to the Germans. But in fact Narvik will not be necessary to them till the winter, it wouldn’t have been much use anyway when Norway had ceased to be neutral, and I shouldn’t have thought that the Allies had enough troops in Norway to make much difference. The real reason is probably so as not to have to waste warships.

This afternoon I remembered very vividly that incident with the taxi-driver in Paris in 1936, and was going to have written something about it in this diary. But now I feel so saddened that I can’t write it. Everything is disintegrating. It makes me writhe to be writing book-reviews etc. at such a time, and even angers me that such time-wasting should still be permitted. The interview at the War Office on Saturday may come to something, if I am clever at faking my way past the doctor. If once in the army, I know by the analogy of the Spanish war that I shall cease to care about public events. At present I feel as I felt in 1936 when the Fascists were closing in on Madrid, only far worse. But I will write about the taxi driver some time[1].

[1] Orwell eventually did so, in ‘As I Please,’ 42, Tribune, 15 September 1944. Peter Davison

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9 Responses to 10.6.40

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 10.6.40 « THE ORWELL PRIZE -- Topsy.com

  2. Stephen Mills says:

    And here is a link to the column itself:
    http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/essays/asiplease1944-09.htm
    (this is for all September; scroll down to the 15th).
    It is a wonderful column – but then again, they mostly are. He is irate about the behaviour of the driver but comes to realise that, in travelling to Spain to fight for the Republicans, he is acting in a similar way.

  3. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  4. Pingback: links for 2010-06-10 « Charlottesville Words

  5. Barry Larking says:

    The War Office did not realise apparently that at this time of the year in the far north there is no night time and as a consequence operations were planned to take place with the presumption of a non-existent darkness.

    The ‘taxi driver piece’ is a wonderful essay and I have often re-called it when something similiar occurs in daily life; the guilt left by a confusion of intentions and re-crimination. So much in so few words.

  6. Stephen Mills says:

    “It makes me writhe to be writing book reviews etc at such a time, and even angers me that such time-wasting shoud still be permitted. … If once in the army, I know by the analogy of the Spanish war that I shall cease to care about public events.”

    He was a total-war-effort man and even after a few years in the garden would be a handy man in a platoon with a rifle and a few grenades.

  7. Stephen Mills says:

    “It makes me writhe to be writing book reviews etc at such a time, and even angers me that such time-wasting shoud still be permitted. … If once in the army, I know by the analogy of the Spanish war that I shall cease to care about public events.”
    What a complex, driven writer. Saw the war coming years ago, tried to stop it, but even after a few years in the garden, put him in a squad with a rifle and a few grenades and he would be a total-war-effort man. Ban the book-reviewers!

  8. “Everything is disintegrating.”

    I can relate.

  9. Pingback: Diaries, by George Orwell | Book review | Small Garden Ideas

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