Operating inside Nature

  • Alan Sandison
Part of the Macmillan Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature book series (STCL)


The law of operating inside nature which Erikson describes in Young Man Luther is a quite fundamental precept for Orwell; one on which depended his whole notion of the free personality. But what does nature really mean to him? It means, of course, the nature of rocks and stones and trees to which he would seem at first glance to have an almost sentimental attachment:

Sometimes on summer afternoons there were wonderful expeditions across the Downs to a village called Birling Gap, or to Beachy Head, where one bathed dangerously among the chalk boulders and came home covered with cuts … And there was the pleasure of keeping caterpillars — the silky green and purple puss-moth, the ghostly green poplar-hawk, the privet-hawk, large as one’s third finger … and … there was the excitement of dredging the dew-ponds on the Downs for enormous newts with orange-coloured bellies.1


Solid Object Tiny Fragment Ordinary World Summer Afternoon Colour Belly 
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  1. 12.
    W.H. Auden in Modern Canterbury Pilgrims, ed. James A. Pike (London, 1956) p. 42.Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Rudyard Kipling, ‘The Phantom Rickshaw’, in Wee Willie Winkie, (Sussex Edition), 1937, p. 135.Google Scholar
  3. 28.
    Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, (London, 1960) p. 264.Google Scholar
  4. 34.
    John Osborne, Luther (London, 1961) p. 91.Google Scholar
  5. 40.
    Rudyard Kipling, ‘Independence’, in A Book of Words (Sussex Edition, 1938) p. 232.Google Scholar

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© Alan Sandison 1986

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  • Alan Sandison

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