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George Orwell Essays Penguins

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Anyone who wants to understand the twentieth century will still have to read Orwell.' - Timothy Garton Ash, New York Review of Books

This outstanding collection brings together Orwell's longer, major essays and a fine selection of shorter pieces that includes 'My Country Right or Left', 'Decline of the English Murder', 'Shooting an Elephant' and 'A Hanging'.

With great originality and wit Orwell unfolds his views on subjects ranging from a revaluation of Charles Dickens to the nature of Socialism, from a comic yet profound discussion of naughty seaside picture postcards to a spirited defence of English cooking. Displaying an almost unrivalled mastery of English plain prose style, Orwell's essays challenge, move and entertain. 'Anyone who wants to understand the twentieth century will still have to read Orwell.' Timothy Garton Ash, New York Review of Books

George Orwell found 'the prolonged, indiscriminate reveiwing of books... a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job... The best practice, it always seemed to me, would be simply to ignore the great majority of books and give very long reviews to the few that seem to matter'. Space doesn't permit a long review here but this collection is equal to a year's, a decade's, a lifetime's reading if what you're reading isn't Orwell. Writing about his professional and political interests, his travels, and the world at large, Orwell's astute and often laconic observations are still able to hit you blindside. The collection includes 'Decline of the English Murder', 'My Country Right or Left' and 'A Hanging'. (Kirkus UK)

Bibliographical Note
Why I Writep. 1
The Spikep. 7
A Hangingp. 14
Shooting an Elephantp. 18
Bookshop Memoriesp. 25
Marrakechp. 29
Charles Dickensp. 35
Boys' Weekliesp. 78
Inside the Whalep. 101
My Country Right or Leftp. 133
The Lion and the Unicornp. 138
Wells, Hitler and the World Statep. 188
The Art of Donald McGillp. 193
Rudyard Kiplingp. 203
Looking Back on the Spanish Warp. 216
W. B. Yeatsp. 233
Poetry and the Microphonep. 239
Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dalip. 248
Raffles and Miss Blandishp. 257
Arthur Koestlerp. 268
Antisemitism in Britainp. 278
In Defence of P. G. Wodehousep. 287
Notes on Nationalismp. 300
Good Bad Booksp. 318
The Sporting Spiritp. 321
Nonsense Poetryp. 324
The Prevention of Literaturep. 328
Books v. Cigarettesp. 341
Decline of the English Murderp. 345
Politics and the English Languagep. 348
Some Thoughts on the Common Toadp. 360
A Good Word for the Vicar of Brayp. 363
Confessions of a Book Reviewerp. 367
Politics vs Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travelsp. 370
How the Poor Diep. 387
Riding Down from Bangorp. 396
Lear, Tolstoy and the Foolp. 401
Such, Such Were the Joysp. 416
Writers and Leviathanp. 453
Reflections on Gandhip. 459
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there. At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm, was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. George Orwell died in London in January 1950. A few days before, Desmond MacCarthy had sent him a message of greeting in which he wrote: 'You have made an indelible mark on English literature . . . you are among the few memorable writers of your generation.'

Visit George Orwell's Booktopia Author Page

ISBN: 9780141183060
ISBN-10: 0141183063
Series: Penguin Modern Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 496
Published: October 2000
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.4  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.34
Edition Number: 1


A generous and varied selection–the only hardcover edition available–of the literary and political writings of one of the greatest essayists of the twentieth century.


Although best known as the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four, George Orwell left an even more lastingly significant achievement in his voluminous essays, which dealt with all the great social, political, and literary questions of the day and exemplified an incisive prose style that is still universally admired. Included among the more than 240 essays in this volume are Orwell’s famous discussion of pacifism, “My Country Right or Left”; his scathingly complicated views on the dirty work of imperialism in “Shooting an Elephant”; and his very firm opinion on how to make “A Nice Cup of Tea.”


In his essays, Orwell elevated political writing to the level of art, and his motivating ideas–his desire for social justice, his belief in universal freedom and equality, and his concern for truth in language–are as enduringly relevant now, a hundred years after his birth, as ever.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

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