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Esperanto was conceived as a model of commercial usefulness, but also to confront the higher aims of its “internal idea.” The interna ideo of Esperanto has historically taken various forms, but it has most often been concerned with protecting a multiethnic world in its diversities, building bridges that allow for a more equitable coexistence of minorities. This underlying ethical thrust makes the international language a potential lever for a more just society in the current global conditions. In order to support this claim, I reconstruct the rhetorical situation of Zamenhof’s pronouncements on the “internal idea,” including Hillelism and Homaranismo. I also argue that George Orwell’s dystopic Newspeak can be considered a political commentary about what would happen to Esperanto if the “internal idea” were to be hijacked in the name of economic progress or the supposed tranquility of commerce.


Esperanto, Zamenhof, Hillelism, Homaranismo, Manuel Castells, Network Society, George Orwell, Newspeak.


Copyright © 2019 Alessandra Madella

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I thank Olha Kutsan for her help in understanding Zamenhof’s Hillelism book; Cho Youngcheon for his kindness in finding me articles; David Depew and the anonymous readers for their patience in reading my work and providing interesting and challenging comments; my mum for her knowledge and untiring activity about Esperanto; and Xin for her support.