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About the Author: George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a a police officer with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1927 and fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1937. Orwell was severely wounded when he was shot through his throat. Later the organization that he had joined when he joined the Republican cause,The Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), was painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organization (Trotsky was Joseph Stalin's enemy) and disbanded. Orwell and his wife were accused of "rabid Trotskyism" and tried in absentia in Barcelona, along with other leaders of the POUM, in 1938. However by then they had escaped from Spain and returned to England.

Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine. He was a prolific polemical journalist, article writer, literary critic, reviewer, poet and writer of fiction, and, considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture.

Orwell is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949) and the satirical novella Animal Farm (1945) — they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book Homage to Catalonia, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture, are widely acclaimed.

Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms, along with the term "Orwellian" — now a byword for any oppressive or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society — have entered the vernacular.


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Goodreads rating: 4.38

Paperback, Published in Jun 2000 by Penguin Classics

ISBN10: 0141183063 | ISBN13: 9780141183060

Page count: 486

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 the moral enormity of Jonathan Swift’s strange genius and a revaluation of Charles Dickens to the nature of Socialism, a comic yet profound discussion of naughty sea-side picture postcards and a spirited defence of English cooking. Displaying an almost unrivalled mastery of English plain prose style, Orwell’s essays challenge, move and entertain.

Contents:
Why I Write
The Spike
A Hanging
Shooting an Elephant
Bookshop Memories
Marrakech
Charles Dickens
Boys' Weeklies
Inside the Whale
My Country Right or Left
The Lion and the Unicorn
Wells, Hitler and the World State
The Art of Donald McGill
Rudyard Kipling
Looking Back on the Spanish War
W.B. Yeats
Poetry and the Microphone
Benefit of Clergy; Some Notes on Salvador Dali
Raffles and Miss Blandish
Arthur Koestler
Antisemitism in Britain
In Defence of P.G. Wodehouse
Notes on Nationalism
Good Bad Books
The Sporting Spirit
Nonsense Poetry
The Prevention of Literature
Books v. Cigarettes
Decline of the English Murder
Politics and the English Language
Some Thoughts on the Common Toad
A Good Word for the Vicar of Bray
Confessions of a Book Reviewer
Politics vs Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travels
How the Poor Die
Riding Down from Bangor
Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool
Such, Such Were the Joys
Writers and Leviathan
Reflections on Gandhi

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