Still Down And Out
August 7, 2011 11:47 AM Subscribe
On the trail of George Orwell’s outcasts.
posted by VikingSword (11 comments total)
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'Some 80 years after George Orwell
chronicled the lives of the hard-up and destitute in his book Down and Out in Paris and London
, what has changed?'
'Retracing the writer's footsteps,' 'the hallmarks of poverty identified by Orwell - addiction, exhaustion and, often, a quiet dignity - are as apparent now as they were then.'
'Orwell's narration begins in the street he called the Rue du Coq d'Or, in the 5th Arrondissement, where he once lived'
'"Quarrels, and the desolate cries of street hawkers, and the shouts of children chasing-orange-peel over the cobbles, and at night loud singing and the sour reek of the refuse carts, made up the atmosphere of the street…. Poverty is what I'm writing about and I had my first contact with poverty in this slum."
'Such was George Orwell's recollection of what he called the Rue du Coq d'Or in Paris, 1929 - the real-life Rue du Pot de Fer. Today it's pleasure rather than poverty that defines the Latin Quarter that Orwell frequented 80-odd years ago. The chic pavement cafes are full of contented-looking people leisurely sipping their vin rose, and the air is perfumed by the sweet smell of crepes and tourists' money.
But poverty hasn't left Paris - she's simply changed address. She may not look quite the same as she did in the 1920s but if Orwell were to meet her again on these streets, he'd know her straight away.'