The Four Motives for Writing According to Orwell

Four years before his death, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century explores what had led him to become one:

Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

  • Sheer egoism
  • Aesthetic enthusiasm
  • Historical impulse
  • Political purpose

Orwell expands on each of these four motives in this essay, titled “Why I Write”. Fantastic.

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