Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Poor and the Proletariat

When Chesterton wrote his introductions to the Everyman Edition of Dickens's works, it seemed quite natural to him to credit Dickens with his own highly individual brand of medievalism, and more recently a Marxist writer, Mr. T. A. Jackson, has made spirited efforts to turn Dickens into a blood-thirsty revolutionary. The Marxist claims him as ‘almost’ a Marxist, the Catholic claims him as ‘almost’ a Catholic, and both claim him as a champion of the proletariat (or ‘the poor’, as Chesterton would have put it).

--from "Charles Dickens", an essay by George Orwell

I couldn't help smiling when I read these words today, during my lunch-break. Poor Chesterton, not knowing the scientific term for the poor! But he seems rather less befogged today, when the proletariat has vanished (if it ever really existed) but the poor, as someone once predicted, are still with us.

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