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In Front of Your Nose, 1945-1950 (Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters George Orwell) Paperback – October 1, 2000

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From Library Journal

Though his life was brief (1903-1950), Orwell was extremely prolific. In addition to penning two of the last century's greatest novels, he wrote reams of essays, journalistic pieces, and letters. Covering a 30-year period, this extensive four-volume set, originally published in 1968, collects the best of his nonfiction. Each volume is divided by year and intermixes his correspondence with news stories and discourses on numerous subjects. There is far more to Orwell than Animal Farm and 1984, and this beautiful collection reveals what a true intellect he was. Though probably more for academics, the books are priced reasonably enough for public library consideration.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"* "It is an astonishing tribute to Orwell's gifts as a natural, unaffected writer that, although the historical events he is unfolding are all too bitterly familiar, the reader turns the page as though he did not know what was going to happen. Here, then, is a social, literary, and political history... which, while being intensely personal never forgets its allegiance to objective truth." -THE ECONOMIST"

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Product Details

  • Series: Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters George Orwell (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 555 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567921361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567921366
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on September 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
The late James J. Martin stated that one could learn great prose from reading George Orwell. Orwell's anthology titled IN FRONT OF YOUR NOSE is a good book to learn political insight and excellent writing. Orwell was not only knowledgeable, but he expressed some of the political tragedies and problems of the 20 th. century in this book. Readers should note this book is the fourth volume of essays of Orwell's essays literary criticism, political protest, etc.

Orwell was one of the very few who realized what a disaster W.W. II was for both Europeans and Asians. His essays on the forced repatriation of millions to the Soviet Union to miserable die in concentration camps were among the first to publicize this tragedy. Orwell's essays were blunt in stating that the only real winner from W.W. II was Big Communism especially in lieu of the rapid disintegration of the British Empire.

Orwell gave a good description of the inconsistent thinking of the British people. The British wanted total victory at any cost, and found themselves in bad economic shape. Many British complained about the immigration of Polish refugees to mine coal in Great Britain. Yet, the British public also complained (whined) about coal shortages. Orwell indicated the inconsistency of these remarks and commented that the British failed to see the logic between acts and consequences. Orwell Presented a clear picture of what was to occur with the British Empire which disintegrated rapidly after "victory" during W.W. II.

Orwell's essay on Gandhi is an interesting case study of Orwell's honest assessment of political leaders. Orwell is clear that he could not live like Gandhi, and Orwell admitted that he probably could be friends with the Hindu leader.
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Format: Paperback
Do you know what a time capsule is?

I saw one pictured in an old Life magazine back issue about the 1938 World's Fair in New York. 1938, the brink of war's abyss. The time capsule was featured at the Fair, filled with Depression era technology and pop culture. An ominous looking black scuba tank... a dark looking torpedo thing... metallic, shiny and heavily lowered by chain into a cement crypt to sleep for decades...observed by people who would never live to see it opened. The metallic time traveller contained hopeful letters to the future from a world on the brink of war and beset by economic decline.

The old world of sentiment was dying... to be replaced by a new streamlined world that promised utopia to some and endless darkness to others.

The last book in this great series...perhaps the saddest and most ominous. The begining of the atomic age (1945)is mentioned in this last part of the series... a bright atomic flash succeded by a long proceeding dark shadow...pointing towards 1984? Devolution, decay and death not evolution, utopian progress or hope shadows this last book.

The Penguin Books edition is simply a reprint of the earlier edition by Sonia Orwell made two years earlier in 1968. It is better bound as the earlier editions tend to crack because of their great age. This book is unique for two reasons: it is loaded with letters and tends to reveal more about the inner thought life of Orwell. This collection of writings shows the Orwell of the Cold War, far removed from the Edwardian England of his youth as was his character George Bowling from his childhood; Bowling looking at the crumbling churchyard of his youth from a street leading to the streamlined future Orwell and Bowling seemed to fear more than embrace.
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A towering monument of greatness. Each of the essays and letters in this book is a beautiful gem, that can touch, inspire and awaken you. In a way, the fact that George Orwell's name is... Orwell, is very misleading. His name should be Magic Razmatazz Kosmic Super Kat or something. This is like Voltaire on steroids with a better education and sharper eyesight.
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This fourth volume concludes the excellent essay collection from a man who died much too young and with whom I do by far not always agree, but who provided me a very satisfying and instructive reading experience.
I chose the headline from one of the essays in this volume because it gives Orwell in a nutshell, including my own ambiguities about him. He argues against the Soviet apologists, in the early post war time, who say that one must break eggs to make an omelette. (Is that a Lenin quote, btw?) His question: so where is the omelette? strikes me as witty and appropriate, but at second glance as callous and cruel. After all he seems to imply that yes, you may kill a few million people for a 'good' purpose, but the purpose must be met.
In such moments Orwell is deserted by his own devotion to clarity and he gets caught in his own puns. That does happen to him. As much as he lambasts against bad language, he will write e.g. 'I could multiply these examples endlessly' (talking about bad stories from the Soviet Union), when he actually means, he could add to these examples for some time.
Reading the man for 4 volumes gives me the conviction, that this suspicious interpretation of mine is unfair. No, he would not have intended to mean that.
The title 'In Front of Your Nose' refers to our ability to harbor contradictory notions without suffering too much from it: the English intelligencia in the 30s was able to oppose Hitler as well as disarmament and conscription. Another example: the gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus descended from Abraham and David through his father Josef, and then proceeds to tell us that Josef was in fact not the father. (I am sure theologists are perfectly able to talk this contradiction away.)
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