Walking Through the Valley

By George Woodcock

Walking Through the Valley
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From the third volume of George Woodcock`s autobiography:

“Like many people who grew old and have not cast off from the past, I feel the urgency that makes me want to write even of the recent past before it is too late, and also, to see at times my life in panoramic recession. ... Read more


Overview

From the third volume of George Woodcock`s autobiography:

“Like many people who grew old and have not cast off from the past, I feel the urgency that makes me want to write even of the recent past before it is too late, and also, to see at times my life in panoramic recession. For I realize now, looking back over my eight completed decades, that from the days I left school in 1929 up to 1977, I was involved in institutions, or something very like institutions, and depended on them largely for my living. I began with the eleven years working for the Great Western Railway. When I left that in 1949, I involved myself for almost a decade in the anarchist movement, which, though apparently lightly structured and voluntary in its operations, in fact had the orthodoxies and the moral pressures that made it into an institution of its own kind. Like Orwell, I found that a writer cannot further his political ideals by immersing himself in an organized movement, but only as guerilla fighting in his own terrain.”

George Woodcock

In the late 1930s, George Woodcock (1912-1995) belonged to a radical group of writers in London, England, that included Aldous Huxley, Herbert Read, and George Orwell, and in their company, he became a poet, a pamphleteer, and a pacifist. Eventually, he became the most articulate spokesman for literary anarchism and a prolific writer of poetry, journalism, travel literature, and history. In 1949, he returned to Canada, where he had been born, and settled in Vancouver. There he wrote Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements and numerous books and articles about the role of the arts in a free society. One of Canada's most influential men of letters, he founded Canadian Literature in 1959 and edited it for nearly twenty years.

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