VSL:BOOKS // George Orwell, Original Blogger

George Orwell was a prophetic author — but was he prophetic enough to pioneer the blog? The Orwell Prize, which gives awards for British political writing, thinks so. This August, the organization began posting his diary entries online, once daily. The entries correspond to the date of composition (but with a 70-year delay), and the effect is as disorienting as it is delightful.

On August 9, 1938, Orwell noted that he “caught a large snake in the herbaceous border beside the drive.” Seventy years later, it’s still a little scary. Many entries are heavily annotated, and a welcome reliance on Google maps provides a fuller picture of Orwell country. Orwell devotees who have already read the diaries will enjoy the novelty of seeing them returned to a natural calendar. The rest of us will be surprised at the close attention that the big-think Animal Farmer pays to nature and animals: Earlier this week, he noticed that “on milking the brown goat found her milk had gone sour & came out quite thick.”

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