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The Collected Essays, Journalism And Letters Of George Orwell, Volume 4 1945-1950 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0156186230
ISBN-10: 0156186233
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Editorial Reviews

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The years spanned by this collection--1945-1950--were monumental ones for George Orwell, years in which his literary reputation and his bank account grew in tandem, thanks to the publication of Animal Farm and 1984. The realignments brought about by the end of World War II and Orwell's increasingly virulent anti-Stalinism provided ample fodder for the political journalist. Regular columns in British papers and frequent contributions to such American journals as the Partisan Review exercised the literary critic, the essayist, and the commentator on popular culture. Even while grieving for his first wife, caring for his adopted toddler son, bedridden by the lung ailments that killed him early in 1950, Orwell was still regularly producing four pieces every week. Increasingly, his social life took place by mail.

The brave, wistful letters Orwell wrote to personal friends and professional colleagues in his last year show him trying to imagine a future even as he put his affairs in order. On 11 May 1949, he closed one to fellow novelist Anthony Powell: "It looks as if I may have to spend the rest of my life, if not actually in bed, at any rate at the bath-chair level. I could stand that for say 5 years if only I could work. At present I can do nothing, not even a book review. Please give everyone my love."

The essays in this collection include such keepers as "Such, Such Were the Joys," a long, harrowing memoir of Orwell's days at a British prep school; "Politics and the English Language," which examines the symbiosis of what it is possible to say in words and what it is possible to think; "How the Poor Die," a chilling piece of social reporting; and "Good Bad Books," in which he opines, "The fact that one can be amused or excited or even moved by a book that one's intellect simply refuses to take seriously is a reminder that art is not the same thing as cerebration."

Bringing together the public utterances and the private correspondence of a writer at the top of his game and the end of his life, this volume is worth reading for the individual pieces, some of Orwell's finest, as well as for the portrait it yields of a highly intelligent and principled man doing his best to play the hand fate dealt him with integrity and grace. --Joyce Thompson

About the Author

GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) was born in India and served with the Imperial Police in Burma before joining the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was the author of six novels as well as numerous essays and nonfiction works.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (September 29, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156186233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156186230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #831,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I'm not sure how to review George Orwell's fugitive pieces. He's one of my favorite writers, not necessarily for political reasons but because of his gumption and the clarity of his prose. On the other hand, few general readers will be interested in the specifics of what he discusses -- ideas, books and events that were topical even at the time, and that are forgotten now by all except those with a special interest in the topics. Personally, I've read and reread this four-volume collection many times since it was published. But that's me.
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If you're planning to do any serious research on George Orwell, this collection is an absolute necessity. Rare clips and literary bursts allow the most complete picture of this literary giant you could dream of. Don't call yourself an Orwell critic without having read all four fat volumes. Really.
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Gives you an idea of his politics, reviews and the presures of an reviewer of both US and GB published titles 5 years prior to his death. Letters, reviews, and timescale which give an idea of the authors concerns, rather than what a biographer interpets it to be be.
Revealing for those who have read most of Orwells output.
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One of the best investments I've made as a writer. I've become acquainted with George Orwell as if having a daily conversation with him over breakfast or while crossing town on the bus. His struggles, frustrations and victories are all collected here from published essays to personal letters salvaged from one-of-a-kind carbon copies. I would love to have this series in my digital library, too.
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