Writers and Politics


248 pages
ISBN 0-921689-83-7
DDC 809'.93358





Reviewed by Susan Minsos

Susan Minsos is a sessional instructor of English at the University of


Woodcock’s reprinted collection of essays, originally published in the
1940s, opens with two cardinal works: “The Writer and Politics” and
“The Function of the Political Myth.” These pieces ideologically
underpin Woodcock’s following essays on Proudhon, Herzen, Kropotkin,
Orwell, Greene, Silone, Koestler, and Bates.

In his first essay, Woodcock asserts that Plato has discovered his
ideal society in the “myth of the earthborn,” perpetuated by men who
“stoutly maintain the right of the ruler to fabricate such a myth even
if [the ruler] knew it to be false.” Woodcock’s political myth is
socialism: “The theme is social, and in a sense Utopian.”

The sum of his essays may be this: believing that the socialist
thinkers about whom he writes would have been disappointed also,
Woodcock appears to despair about the way Soviet rulers have practiced
communism since getting their crack at making the political myth work,
and about the Established Church, which has “consistently betrayed and
negated the belief in social responsibilities.”


Woodcock, George., “Writers and Politics,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10270.