It is what I think, 1947-1948
Secker & Warburg, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 539 pages
Much of 1947 and 1948 was taken up with Orwell's struggle to complete 1984 and his fight against illness. He was admitted to the hospital and continued to work on "Such, Such Were the Joys," he wrote several essays, and he continued to review. Changes made in the course of the production of Orwell's radio version of Animal Farm are listed, and his second Literary Notebook is reproduced.
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On Imperialism and War This is the second in the series of re-publishing of George Orwell essays edited by George Packer. The focus of this collection is to highlight Orwell's more journalistic side. The essays in this collection are less persuasive and much more narrative and impressionist. Orwell's famous "Shooting an Elephant" essay on British imperialism in Burma is included here. It is no wonder the essay has become a standard in most undergraduate courses on British empire, Orwell exposes the contradictions of empire, that "when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys." Probably the most interesting essays are the diary entries by Orwell during and after the Battle of Britain which are written with unflinching lucidity. We've all read about Dunkirk, Coventry, etc... but its always fascinating to read what real people felt at the time, to read about their reactions in the moment, rather than historical texts or even old newspapers. In between descriptions, Orwell even enlightens us with the odd insight such as his observation that "War is simply a reversal of civilised life." A few of the essays at the end of the book, post-WWII are interesting such as his essay on racial prejudice titled "As I Please." But the final series of essays "Such, Such were the Joys" are no more than ramblings about the banalities of private school, specifically St. Cyprians where Orwell went to school. Overall, I would recommend this book if just for the 100 or so pages from Orwell's diary during the war. The rest is average by Orwell's standards, which is certainly better than most.
Domestic Diary 45 January 1947
Letter to Leonard Moore 9January 1947
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