Tag Archives: george orwell

Who is the British Mark Twain?

By which I mean:  if you’re in the United States of America, and you can find a Mark Twain quote which bolsters a point you’re trying to make, you are golden.  Because somehow Twain is seen as a sort of conduit for the wisdom of the nation, a proxy for American common sense and knowhow.  Nobody ever says “Mark Twain was full of shit.”  You’re kind of not allowed.

I asked an British friend whether there was a British equivalent of this, whether, for instance, it was George Orwell.  He said, no, in Britain, Orwell is seen as being for children, it’s not Orwell.  Then he thought for a while and said, oh, no, obviously, it’s Samuel Johnson.

Agree?  Disagree?  Other candidates?  Is there a French Mark Twain, or a Chinese one?

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