Nellie Limouzin, Eugène Adam (Lanti), George Orwell, Esperanto

Here are some more descriptions of Nellie Limouzin, George Orwell's aunt.

Orwell used to visit his mother's bohemian sister, Nellie Limouzin, a militant socialist and suffragette. Though he rarely sought her help, his aunt could always be counted on for a small handout. She'd acted in vaudeville and was married to a Frenchman, Eugane Adam, who'd been involved in the Russian Revolution in Petrograd in October 1917. "The marriage was not happy," according to one of their friends. "She had no character. She was soft, without backbone, without willpower." Adam, a fanatic who refused to speak any language but Esperanto, later abandoned Nellie, wound up in Mexico, and killed himself in 1947. If Orwell had gone to Paris with the idea of exploring the French half of his heritage, he must have been disappointed, for he had little contact with French people of his own social class. He inhabited the underworld of downtrodden foreign workers, and Paris reinforced his Englishness.
SOURCE: Meyers, Jeffrey. "Orwell And the Experience of France," World and I, 1 Nov 2003. See slightly different passage in Meyers' book Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation.
Mary Myfanwy Westrope had been a member of the I L P [Independent Labour Party] since 1905 and by 1935 was a veteran of the women’s rights movement. It seems her pacifism kept her out of the militant Pankhurst suffragettes. Francis Westrope was imprisoned as a conscientious objector in the First World War, where he met the pianist Frank Merrick and Fenner Brockway. Merrick says that Westrope and he became interested in Esperanto by accident while in prison: a grammar was the only mind-stretching book available, apart from theological works. Perhaps there was some accident about Westrope’s interest, but Esperanto had an ideology of brotherhood of man and international fraternity about it that must have appealed: the tower of Babel, not Mammon or Eve’s apple, was to him the primal curse. Given one language, there would be perpetual peace. But the Esperantist cause was nothing if not eclectic and ecumenical: it could sail alongside or take up on board many another great cause or small crankery — including vegetarianism in the Westropes’ case. Esperanto led them to meet Nellie Limouzin and Eugene Adam. Like Adam, Myfanwy Westrope had visited the Soviet Union (in 1931), and she too had returned profoundly disillusioned, not with socialism but with what she saw there. She plunged into I L P activity even more heartily on her return.
SOURCE: Crick, Bernard. George Orwell: A Life (London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1992), Chapter 7: "Hard Times Or Struggling Up (1932–34)".
Orwell's aunt, Nellie Limouzin,and her lover, the Esperanto language activist Eugène Adam, welcomed Orwell into their home, from which they ran an Esperantist workers' association. The left-leaning couple engaged Orwell in spirited political debate, and Orwell later pointed to his time in Paris as influential in forming his identity as a socialist. Some scholars also believe that some of the Newspeak language created in 1984 can be traced back to his exposure to Esperanto in Paris.
SOURCE: Powell, Jessica. Literary Paris: A Guide (New York: New York Review of Books, 2006), p. 155.

1 comment:

Gunnar said...

Orwell had also been engaged in Basic English for a while - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak