A Collection of Essays PDF/EPUB ß A Collection Epub

A Collection of Essays PDF/EPUB ß A Collection Epub


A Collection of Essays [PDF] ✪ A Collection of Essays By George Orwell – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk George Orwell s collected nonfiction, written in the clear eyed and uncompromising style that earned him a critical following One of the most thought provoking and vivid essayists of the twentieth cen George Orwell s collected nonfiction, of Essays PDF ☆ written in the clear eyed and uncompromising style that earned him a critical following One of the most thought provoking and vivid essayists of the twentieth century, George Orwell fought the injustices of his time with singular vigor through pen and paper In this selection of essays, he ranges from A Collection Epub / reflections on his boyhood schooling and the profession of writing to his views on the Spanish Civil War and British imperialism The pieces collected here include the relatively unfamiliar and the celebrated, making it an ideal compilation for both new and dedicated readers of Orwell s work.


10 thoughts on “A Collection of Essays

  1. K.D. Absolutely K.D. Absolutely says:

    The best collection of essays that I ve read so far.14 well written essays by Eric Arthur Blair 1903 1950 also known as George Orwell It covers a wide range of topics from his childhood, Spanish Civil War, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Jewish religion, politics, etc to his shooting of an elephant while serving as a police in Burma Perfectly written in his trademark direct, clear and taut writing the style that I first encountered in his political satirical sci fi 1984 and The best collection of essays that I ve read so far.14 well written essays by Eric Arthur Blair 1903 1950 also known as George Orwell It covers a wide range of topics from his childhood, Spanish Civil War, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Jewish religion, politics, etc to his shooting of an elephant while serving as a police in Burma Perfectly written in his trademark direct, clear and taut writing the style that I first encountered in his political satirical sci fi 1984 and political fable Animal Farm.The only difference is that these are non fiction The essays made me understand what kind of a man George Orwell was a lover of equality, justice and free will Such, Such Were the Joys 5 stars Amazing A very moving memoir of Orwell s stay at Crossgates, a school for the rich students in England He only afforded to go to that school because he was a bright boy The school kept him because he had a good chance of passing entrance exams in the prestigious universities later and that would help maintaining the image of the school The one part that I found so sad was that the little George did not have a cake year after year during his stay at that school because his parents could not afford it and this was just one of the ways for a poor but bright pupil could be discriminated This boyhood memoir is better than Roald Dahl s Boy A Story of Childhood as this isinspiring and meatier Charles Dickens 5 stars Amazing David Copperfield and A Tale of the Two Cities are my two novels that I first read when I was in a fresh college graduate in the mid 80s That s why they will always be among my favorite classic works In this essay, Orwell analyzes the works of Dickens in a way that is very easy to understand and will help you appreciate Dickens as a writer Orwell said that Dickens is a moralist he wanted to correct the wrongs that are perpetuated by either those in power or those who were rich in England during his time However, there are a couple of his works that do not belong to this so called social propagandist drama and they are A Tale of the Two Cities and Hard Times All the works, including David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzzlewit and Our Mutual Friend follow a certain formula and fall into the same morality theme Orwell just made me want to line up next all the other books by Dickens that are in my to be read tbr file The Art of Donald McGill 3 stars I liked it Donald McGill 1875 1962 was a cartoonist whose comic strips were very popular in England during Orwell s time Prior to this, I did not know that Britons would love daily comic strips in a way that I and my friends used to read Baltic and Co. on the dailies when we were growing up Orwell examined the comic strips over the years and wrote a detailed analysis of its main theme and McGill s outlook on marriage, sex, gender equality and drunkenness He did not say that he was McGill s fan but he would not be able to write his conclusion of this long running comic strip had he not been a fan Orwell, a comic strip s fan Rudyard Kipling 4 stars I really liked it Orwell gave his view on T S Eliot s defense of Kipling being branded as a Fascist This label seemed to be triggered by Kipling s written article regarding a white British soldier beating a nigger yes, during that time this n word was still printable Orwell tends to disagree with Eliot by saying thatthere is a definite strain of sadism in him, over and above the brutality which a write of that type has to have Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgustingJuicy, rght Considering that they were both Englishmen and highly esteemed classic novelists However, the essay is not all negative about Kipling in Orwell s point of view He says that Kipling was the only English write of their time who has added phrases to the language and they all became popular like East is East and West is West The white man s burden What do they know of England who only England know The female of the species isdeadly than the male Somewhere East of Suezand Paying the Dane geld. Raffles and Miss Blandish 4 stars I really liked it Detailed comparison between a 501 mystery book, No Orchids for Miss Blandish 1939 by James Hadley Chase and the book that Orwell said to be the book that inspired it, Raffles I have been looking for a copy of this Miss Blandish book What Orwell basically gave the plot of the story about a girl who was raped for a long period of time and she fell in love with her rapist but I did not take it as a spoiler Rather, he made me want to order the book viaso I can read it right away Well, maybe in my nexthorde Shooting the Elephant 5 stars Amazing Very short yet I guess this is the best essay in the book It talks about Orwell s stay in Burma as a policeman He hated his job because he feels that the Burmese people do not like English people as they are the colonizers, i.e., oppressors In this particular essay, there is a runaway elephant that has killed a native Being a policeman, Orwell is asked to kill the elephant I will not tell you the rest as it is too much of a spoiler If you have no time to read the whole book, just read this while standing in the bookstore I assure you that it will be worth the time and the pressure on your legs You will get a glimpse a good glimpse of what kind of man the young Orwell was that probably drove him to write his books that are said to be anti totalitarianism Politics and the English Language 4 stars I really liked it Orwell criticizing the way school professors expressed themselves in written form He even gave excerpts of these English professors formal passages He said that the decline of the English language is brought about by the foolish thoughts of the writers These thoughts were made possible because of the slovenliness of the English language Hence, the situation was similar to a man drinking because he feels himself to be a failure and he becomes a complete failure because he drinks He gamely offered these pieces of advice for writers i Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print ii Never use a long word where a short one will do iii If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out iv Never use the foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent v Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous Reflections of Gandhi 4 stars I really liked it Orwell hailed Gandhi and his non violence but he emphasized that the old man did not do anything without personal ambitions If E M Forster s Passage to India was about British hypocrisy, there were also a hint of hypocrisy in Gandhi s stance and writings For example, when Gandhi was asked what should be done with the Jews in Europe, Gandhi allegedly said that German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler s violence After the war, Gandhi justified himself the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly Marrakech 3 stars I liked it Before Hitler rose in power in 1931, Jewish jokes were common in Europe This explained he negative Jewish references that turned me off when I read my first book by Orwell a couple of years back Down and Out in Paris and London. Now I know better The Jews have that distinctive look that was also intimated by Howard Jacobson in his Booker award winning book, The Finkler Question that was my first book read this year but they are cunning as they are gutsy in business and fond of money lending with interest Well, that was according to Orwell Looking Back on the Spanish War 3 stars I liked it The resistance of the working class against Franco British, France and Russia sided with the urban trade union members while the Nazis Italy and Germany sided with Franco However, Orwell questioned the intent of Russia in the war This should have been an interesting essay but I found that war to have of little impact on me compared to WWII in the Pacific All I know is that American novelists like Hemingway or Cummings volunteered during this period as ambulance drivers This was because there was the Great Depression in the States so job was scarce Inside the Whale5 stars Amazing This is about the feeling of claustrophobia that must have been similar to what the prophet Jonas felt while inside the whale Orwell used as a springboard Henry Miller and his opus The Tropic of Cancer Orwell praised Miller for his courage of writing something that belong to the 20 s and not in fashion When Tropic of Cancer was published the Italians were marching into Abyssinia and Hitler s concentration camps were already bulging The international foci of the of the world were Rome, Moscow, and Berlin It did not seem to be a moment at which a novel of outstanding value was likely to be written about American dead beats edging drinks in the Latin Quarter France Of course a novelist is not obliged to write directly about contemporary history, but a novelist who simply disregards the major public events of the moment is generally either a footler or a plain idiot Orwell went on explaining why he found this Miller book outstanding When I first opened Tropic of Cancer and saw that it was full of imprintable words, my immediate reaction was a refusal to be impressed Most people s would be the same, I believe Nevertheless after a lapse of time, the atmosphere of the book, besides innumerable details, seemed to linger in my memory in a peculiar way Together with his other book, Black Spring, these two books created a world of their own as the saying goes The books that do this are not necessarily good books, they maybe good bad books like Raffles or the Sherlock Holmes stories, or perverse and morbid books like Wuthering Heights or The House of the Green Shutters Read him Miller for five pages, ten pages, and you feel the peculiar relief that comes not so much from understanding as from being understood. He knows all about me, you feel he wrote this especially for me It is as though you could hear a voice speaking to you, a friendly American voice, with no humbug in it, no moral purpose, merely an implicit assumption that we are all alike England Your England 3 stars I liked it An essay that he wrote while Nazi airplanes were flying on the British skies dropping bombs Contains his many complaints about Britain s political system, its stand during the war, its alliances, its expanding middle class, etc Boys Weeklies 4 stars I really liked it Orwell sold newspaper dailies when he was a young boy and this essay includes his analysis of the dailies during his time I don t know of any newspapers in Britain so I was not able to relate to this one However, I also sold newspapers in the province when I was a young boy Why I Write 5 stars Amazing From the tender age of 5 or 6, Orwell already knew that he wanted to become a writer He was the only boy in the family of 4 that includes his mother and two sisters , older and younger He was a lonely boy probably because he did grow up with a father and he found comfort in books reading stories and novels and and writing poetry At the age of 16, he read Milton s Paradise Lost that made him realized that the beauty of the English language He gave the following as motivations the drive writers to write 1 Sheer egoism 2 Esthetic enthusiasm 3 Historical impulse 4 Political purposeOrwell did not say it but I think the last one was what drove him to write 1984 and Animal Farm He wanted to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after No book is genuinely free from political bias The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude p 313.Sorry for the long review I was just carried away by this book I did not know that reading essays could be as exciting and enriching as reading works of fiction


  2. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. George Orwell is one of the inescapable writers of the last century Far from becoming irrelevant, his works seem to becomesignificant with each passing year as most recently evidenced by the present administration s strained relationship with the truth Orwell himself said that the final test of any work of art is survival, and his works seem on track to pass this final test His dys What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. George Orwell is one of the inescapable writers of the last century Far from becoming irrelevant, his works seem to becomesignificant with each passing year as most recently evidenced by the present administration s strained relationship with the truth Orwell himself said that the final test of any work of art is survival, and his works seem on track to pass this final test His dystopian novel recently became a surprise best seller, almost seventy years after its initial publication That isthan mere survival.And yet it isn t for his political insights that I opened this collection of essays It was rather and I feel somewhat silly saying this for his writing style Orwell s writing is, for me, a model of modern prose His style can accommodate both the abstract and the concrete, the homely and the refined, the pretentious and the vulgar his prose can satisfy both the academic and the artist, the intellectual and the layperson, the Panurge and the parish priest It is unmistakably modern, even sleek, while obviously informed by the tastes and standards of the past It is fiery, angry, and political, while remaining intimate, human, and honest Something that repeatedly struck me while reading this collection was an inner conflict in Orwell s worldview There are two sides of the man, sometimes in harmony, and sometimes at odds the writer and the activist Orwell the writer is captivated by the rhythms of words, the sounds of sentences he loves ruminating on a strange personality or a memorable story he is enchanted by the details of daily life Orwell the activist is outraged at injustice and uncompromising in his moral sense he sees people as a collection of allies and enemies, taking part in a grand struggle to bring about a better society, or a worse one.Orwell himself discusses this tension in his little essay, Why I Write In apeaceful age, he thinks, he could have been an entirely aesthetic writer, perhaps a poet, not paying much attention to politics It was his firsthand experience of imperialism, poverty, and fascism that activated his political conscience Specifically, it was the Spanish Civil War that tipped the scale for him Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism Be that as it may, Orwell seems to have repeatedly struggled to reconcile this aim with hishumanistic side In his brilliant essay on Dickens, for example, he spends page after page trying to analyze Dickens as a kind of social philosopher, examining Dickens s views on work, on the state, on education, and so on Since Dickens was anything but a philosopher as Orwell himself admits this repeatedly leads to frustrating dead ends, and fails completely to do justice to Dickens s work It is only in the last section, where Orwell drops this pretense and treats Dickens as a novelist, that the essay becomes deeply insightful Indeed, it soon becomes clear it seems clear to me, at least that Orwell likes Dickens for his writing, and not his activism, however much he may wish to think otherwise.Other essays exhibit this same tension In his essay on vulgar postcard art, for example, he notes how backward is the social worldview expressed in the cards but he is obviously quite fond of them and even ventures to defend them by likening their humor to Sancho Panza s His essay on boy s magazines follows an identical pattern, exposing their conservative ideology while betraying a keen interest in, even a warm fondness for, the stories In his appreciative essay on Rudyard Kipling s poems, he even goes so far as to defend Kipling s political views, at least from accusations of fascism.It is largely due to Orwell s influence, I think, that nowadays it is uncontroversial to see the political implications in a movie cast or a Halloween costume In all of these essays, Orwell worked to undermine the na ve distinction between politics and everyday life, showing how we absorb messages about standards, values, and ideologies from every direction He did not merely state that All art is propaganda, but he tried to show it, both in his analyses and his own fiction At least half the time, he is utterly convincing in this And indeed, Orwell was such a brilliant man that, even when I think he s involved in a pointless exercise, he makes so many penetrating observations along the way incidentally, parenthetically that his writing fully absorbs me We owe a tremendous debt to Orwell for this insight Nevertheless, I can t help thinking that there is something terribly limiting about this perspective All art may be propaganda, but it is not only propaganda it is not even primarily so There needs to be room in criticism, as in life, for the non political We need to be able to enjoy a novelist because of his characters and not his views on the state, a poet for his lines rather than his opinions, a dirty joke or a trashy magazine just because we want a laugh and a break Orwell would agree with me up to a point, I think, but would also say that every decision to be non political implicitly accepts the status quo, and is therefore conservative This may be true but it is also true that such non political things are necessary to live a full life.Where I most disagree with Orwell is his conviction that the media we consume magazines, post cards, popular novels, television nefariously and decisively shape our worldview For my part, I suspect that people absorb their opinionsfrom their community, face to face, and then seek out media that corresponds with their pre existing views not the reverse Media may reinforce these views and give them shape and drive, but I don t think it generates them.All this is besides the point I admire Orwell, for his fierce independence, for his sense of outrage and injustice, for his facility with words, for his attempt to blend art and truth In other words, I admire both the writer and the activist, and I think his work should be read until judgment day


  3. Randy Randy says:

    Given the 70 years that have passed since the publication of most of these essays, I ve weighted my evaluation of this collection toward those essays that still retain some relevance.And granted, there is some seriously anachronistic stuff here Some real snoozers that are stuck so firmly in time and place that only the most devoted anglophiles or Orwellians would be interested The Art of Donald McGill , England Your England , Boys Weeklies.But the majority of essays are written with ter Given the 70 years that have passed since the publication of most of these essays, I ve weighted my evaluation of this collection toward those essays that still retain some relevance.And granted, there is some seriously anachronistic stuff here Some real snoozers that are stuck so firmly in time and place that only the most devoted anglophiles or Orwellians would be interested The Art of Donald McGill , England Your England , Boys Weeklies.But the majority of essays are written with terrific clarity and foresight, carried by Orwell s power of observation and knack for capturing insight in pithy, memorable sentences Indeed, this is probably one the most quotable books I ve read in a long while Some examples you can only create if you care when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys The great enemy of clear language is insincerity No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth are things a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing human beings must avoid This command of the sentence is reminiscent of Emerson s best work But unlike Emerson, Orwell retains full command of the essay in form and function as well Even the most anachornistic essays in this collection are still focused and rooted in finely observed detail For this alone, Marrakech and Such, Such Were the Joys are worth reading.But Orwell s sharpest and most relevant commentary can be found in the essays about the nature of political power, language, and writing Shooting an Elephant , Politics and the English Language , Why I Write In these he articulates the interplay of language and power the way words can conceal as well as clarify No surprise that he s thought so deeply about what would be at the heart of his masterpiece.Even the critical pieces on Dickens and Rudyard Kipling offer insights about those authors that I hadn t considered before Charles Dickens , in particular, is both savage and enlightening.Worth reading for the political essays alone and if you re an impatient reader, pick and choose what interests you from the rest


  4. William1 William1 says:

    Selected essays I thought the essays here on Dickens and Kipling were revelations About ninety percent of the essays cited by other authors that I have read are included here I also particularly liked Inside the Whale, a paean to Henry Miller s masterpiece, Tropic of Cancer.


  5. notgettingenough notgettingenough says:

    Having discussions lately about the topic that keeps academics in business, I guess what is literature as opposed to other forms of fiction, I d like to give access to this Orwell essay as a meaningful point of departure I feel like I keep talking and arguing without any lines definitions meanings in place.Good bad books Essay by George Orwell First published 2 November 1945.Not long ago a publisher commissioned me to write an introduction for a reprint of a novel by Leonard Merrick This pu Having discussions lately about the topic that keeps academics in business, I guess what is literature as opposed to other forms of fiction, I d like to give access to this Orwell essay as a meaningful point of departure I feel like I keep talking and arguing without any lines definitions meanings in place.Good bad books Essay by George Orwell First published 2 November 1945.Not long ago a publisher commissioned me to write an introduction for a reprint of a novel by Leonard Merrick This publishing house, it appears, is going to reissue a long series of minor and partly forgotten novels of the twentieth century It is a valuable service in these bookless days, and I rather envy the person whose job it will be to scout round the threepenny boxes, hunting down copies of his boyhood favourites.A type of book which we hardly seem to produce in these days, but which flowered with great richness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is what Chesterton called the good bad book that is, the kind of book that has no literary pretensions but which remains readable whenserious productions have perished Obviously outstanding books in this line are RAFFLES and the Sherlock Holmes stories, which have kept their place when innumerable problem novels , human documents and terrible indictments of this or that have fallen into deserved oblivion Who has worn better, Conan Doyle or Meredith Almost in the same class as these I, put R Austin Freeman s earlier stories The Singing Bone The Eye of Osiris and others Ernest Bramah s MAX CARRADOS, and, dropping the standard a bit, Guy Boothby s Tibetan thriller, DR NIKOLA, a sort of schoolboy version of Hue s TRAVELS IN TARTARY, which would probably make a real visit to Central Asia seem a dismal anticlimax.But apart from thrillers, there were the minor humorous writers of the period For example, Pett Ridge but I admit his full length books no longer seem readable E Nesbit THE TREASURE SEEKERS , George Birmingham, who was good so long as he kept off politics, the pornographic Binstead Pitcher of the PINK UN , and, if American books can be included, Booth Tarkington s Penrod stories A cut above most of these was Barry Pain Some of Pain s humorous writings are, I suppose, still in print, but to anyone who comes across it I recommend what must now be a very rare book THE OCTAVE OF CLAUDIUS, a brilliant exercise in the macabre Somewhat later in time there was Peter Blundell, who wrote in the W.W Jacobs vein about Far Eastern seaport towns, and who seems to be rather unaccountably forgotten, in spite of having been praised in print by H.G Wells.However, all the books I have been speaking of are frankly escape literature They form pleasant patches in one s memory, quiet corners where the mind can browse at odd moments, but they hardly pretend to have anything to do with real life There is another kind of good bad book which isseriously intended, and which tells us, I think, something about the nature of the novel and the reasons for its present decadence During the last fifty years there has been a whole series of writers some of them are still writing whom it is quite impossible to call good by any strictly literary standard, but who are natural novelists and who seem to attain sincerity partly because they are not inhibited by good taste In this class I put Leonard Merrick himself, W.L George, J.D Beresford, Ernest Raymond, May Sinclair, and at a lower level than the others but still essentially similar A.S.M Hutchinson.Most of these have been prolific writers, and their output has naturally varied in quality I am thinking in each case of one or two outstanding books for example, Merrick s CYNTHIA, J.D Beresford s A CANDIDATE FOR TRUTH, W.L George s CALIBAN, May Sinclair s THE COMBINED MAZE and Ernest Raymond s WE, THE ACCUSED In each of these books the author has been able to identify himself with his imagined characters, to feel with them and invite sympathy on their behalf with a kind of abandonment that cleverer people would find it difficult to achieve They bring out the fact that intellectual refinement can be a disadvantage to a story teller, as it would be to a music hall comedian.Take, for example, Ernest Raymond s WE, THE ACCUSED a peculiarly sordid and convincing murder story, probably based on the Crippen case I think it gains a great deal from the fact that the author only partly grasps the pathetic vulgarity of the people he is writing about, and therefore does not despise them Perhaps it even like Theodore Dreiser s An AMERICAN TRAGEDY gains something from the clumsy long winded manner in which it is written detail is piled on detail, with almost no attempt at selection, and in the process an effect of terrible, grinding cruelty is slowly built up So also with A CANDIDATE FOR TRUTH Here there is not the same clumsiness, but there is the same ability to take seriously the problems of commonplace people So also with CYNTHIA and at any rate the earlier part of Caliban The greater part of what W.L George wrote was shoddy rubbish, but in this particular book, based on the career of Northcliffe, he achieved some memorable and truthful pictures of lower middle class London life Parts of this book are probably autobiographical, and one of the advantages of good bad writers is their lack of shame in writing autobiography Exhibitionism and self pity are the bane of the novelist, and yet if he is too frightened of them his creative gift may suffer.The existence of good bad literature 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 I imagine that by any test that could be devised, Carlyle would be found to be aintelligent man than Trollope Yet Trollope has remained readable and Carlyle has not with all his cleverness he had not even the wit to write in plain straightforward English In novelists, almost as much as in poets, the connection between intelligence and creative power is hard to establish A good novelist may be a prodigy of self discipline like Flaubert, or he may be an intellectual sprawl like Dickens Enough talent to set up dozens of ordinary writers has been poured into Wyndham Lewis s so called novels, such as TARR or SNOOTY BARONET Yet it would be a very heavy labour to read one of these books right through Some indefinable quality, a sort of literary vitamin,which exists even in a book like IF WINTER COMES, is absent from them.Perhaps the supreme example of the good bad book is UNCLE TOM S CABIN It is an unintentionally ludicrous book, full of preposterous melodramatic incidents it is also deeply moving and essentially true it is hard to say which quality outweighs the other But UNCLE TOM S CABIN, after all, is trying to be serious and to deal with the real world How about the frankly escapist writers, the purveyors of thrills and light humour How about SHERLOCK HOLMES, VICE VERSA, DRACULA, HELEN S BABIES or KING SOLOMON S MINES All of these are definitely absurd books, books which one isinclined to laugh AT than WITH, and which were hardly taken seriously even by their authors yet they have survived, and will probably continue to do so All one can say is that, while civilisation remains such that one needs distractionfrom time to time, light literature has its appointed place also that there is such a thing as sheer skill, or native grace, which may havesurvival value than erudition or intellectual power There are music hall songs which are better poems than three quarters of the stuff that gets into the anthologies Come where the booze is cheaper,Come where the pots hold ,Come where the boss is a bit of a sport,Come to the pub next door Or again Two lovely black eyesOh, what a surprise Only for calling another man wrong,Two lovely black eyes I would far rather have written either of those than, say, The Blessed Damozel or Love in the Valley And by the same token I would back UNCLE TOM S CABIN to outlive the complete works of Virginia Woolf or George Moore, though I know of no strictly literary test which would show where the superiority lies


  6. David David says:

    Orwell writes so well you want to give him a standing ovation This collection contains several classic essays Shooting an Elephant , Politics and the English Language , Such, Such were the Joys memories of his schooldays as well as amazing pieces on Dickens, Kipling, and the state of literature in the 1930s Inside the Whale Whether writing about the English national character, analyzing the content and effect of popular comics for boys, or explaining his own compulsion to write Orwell writes so well you want to give him a standing ovation This collection contains several classic essays Shooting an Elephant , Politics and the English Language , Such, Such were the Joys memories of his schooldays as well as amazing pieces on Dickens, Kipling, and the state of literature in the 1930s Inside the Whale Whether writing about the English national character, analyzing the content and effect of popular comics for boys, or explaining his own compulsion to write, Orwell is always engaging and writes in clear, crisp prose that most essayists can only aspire to These extraordinary essays will sweep away any niggling resentment of Orwell you might feel because you were forced to read Animal Farm and or 1984 in high school, and inspire you to seek outof his work


  7. Salam Almahi Salam Almahi says:

    Okay so, let s get one thing straight My review is not of this particular book, but I ve read a collection of Orwell s essays and didn t know how to mark them The essays I read are Politics and The English Language It was what intrigued me to read these bunch of essays in the first place I got the idea that it was what gave birth to the idea of Newspeak the language used in 1984 , but upon reading it, it was very different. More like a critique of changes in writing styles Orwell was ve Okay so, let s get one thing straight My review is not of this particular book, but I ve read a collection of Orwell s essays and didn t know how to mark them The essays I read are Politics and The English Language It was what intrigued me to read these bunch of essays in the first place I got the idea that it was what gave birth to the idea of Newspeak the language used in 1984 , but upon reading it, it was very different. More like a critique of changes in writing styles Orwell was very bitter lol in his criticism, though Some Thoughts on the Common Toad This was, I think, my favorite of the collection It basically sends the message that even though the world is crumbling around us, doesn t mean that we can t appreciate the little beautiful things surrounding us Shooting An Elephant This essay, was the most thought provoking of them all It made me think of colonization in a deeper way It was very interesting to see the point of view of someone among the colonizers You and the Atomic Bomb I could see many ideas that ended in the book in 1984 forming in this essay, and like 1984 it was somewhat prophetical Confessions of a Book Reviewer I thought I d relateto this essay but it was in fact,like a description of how a life of a professional book reviewer is someone who does it as a job So naturally did not relate But George Orwell did build a realistic, almost tangible setting and atmosphere Poetry and the Microphone Reminded me of what we now call Podcasts Orwell would ve been proud that this thing exists now But the dilemma of the image of poetry, and its accessibility is still unfortunately, present Books Vs Cigarettes THE BEST ARGUMENTS AGAINST BOOK BUYING HATERS In conclusion, I can say with confidence, that I prefer Orwell s nonfiction, over his fiction


  8. Nooilforpacifists Nooilforpacifists says:

    Includes Shooting the Elephant and Politics and the English Language Genius.


  9. LindaH LindaH says:

    I went for Orwell s six part essay on Dickens first since I am rereading Bleak House right now I ve decided to get down these thoughts, and break GR s rules, before reading the rest of the book In the first paragraph of the fifth section, Orwell s got my number He is aware, says he, that any fan of Dickens is by now angry at him I am a fan of Dickens, I was annoyed by his assessment of Dickens status as nothing but a moralist Dickens s criticism of society is almost exclusively moral He I went for Orwell s six part essay on Dickens first since I am rereading Bleak House right now I ve decided to get down these thoughts, and break GR s rules, before reading the rest of the book In the first paragraph of the fifth section, Orwell s got my number He is aware, says he, that any fan of Dickens is by now angry at him I am a fan of Dickens, I was annoyed by his assessment of Dickens status as nothing but a moralist Dickens s criticism of society is almost exclusively moral Hence the utter lack of any constructive suggestion anywhere in his work I can appreciate Orwell s arguments but does he have to be so dismissive of Dickens genius Orwell s judgments are so colored by his politics Dickens s views on the servant question do not get much beyond wishing that master and servant would love one another Still, I have to admit, I was seeing Dickens work in a whole new way And every now and then he sweeps me off my feet with his prescience Without a high level of mechanical development, human equality is not practically possible Dickens goes to show that it is not imaginable either All in all, I was am fascinated by Orwell s take on Dickens, which feels only slightly dated It was written in 1940 Indeed, he is bringing up stuff we In the 21st century ought to revisit and consider Wonderfully as he can describe an APPEARANCE, Dickens does not often describe a process Everything is seen from the consumer angle When he speaks of human progress it is usually in terms of MORAL progress men growing better probably he would never admit that men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be Having gone into example after example of actual work NOT being described, Orwell throws us fans a bone No modern man could combine such purposelessness with so much vitality This is the very line that precedes the I know you re angry dear Reader sop at the beginning of Part V But he goes on to make me realize I have grown a bit in the direction of reality in my appreciation of Dickens After going into Dickens negatives at length, Orwell gets around to his numero uno stroke of brilliance, his use of the UNNECESSARY DETAIL By now, his summaries set well I am a convert Dickens is obviously a writer whose parts are greater than his wholes He is all fragments, all details rotten architecture, but wonderful gargoyles and never better than when he is building up some character who will later on be forced to act inconsistently Isn t this what a great essayist does He slides effortlessly into a subject close to the reader s heart, wrenches him around with logic for awhile, and leaves him gasping but edified, at the final period Orwell sees in Dickens a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is GENEROUSLY ANGRY in other words, of a nineteenth century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls Now for the other forty nine essays


  10. Farah Al-Shuhail Farah Al-Shuhail says:

    An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats


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10 thoughts on “A Collection of Essays

  1. K.D. Absolutely K.D. Absolutely says:

    The best collection of essays that I ve read so far.14 well written essays by Eric Arthur Blair 1903 1950 also known as George Orwell It covers a wide range of topics from his childhood, Spanish Civil War, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Jewish religion, politics, etc to his shooting of an elephant while serving as a police in Burma Perfectly written in his trademark direct, clear and taut writing the style that I first encountered in his political satirical sci fi 1984 and The best collection of essays that I ve read so far.14 well written essays by Eric Arthur Blair 1903 1950 also known as George Orwell It covers a wide range of topics from his childhood, Spanish Civil War, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Jewish religion, politics, etc to his shooting of an elephant while serving as a police in Burma Perfectly written in his trademark direct, clear and taut writing the style that I first encountered in his political satirical sci fi 1984 and political fable Animal Farm.The only difference is that these are non fiction The essays made me understand what kind of a man George Orwell was a lover of equality, justice and free will Such, Such Were the Joys 5 stars Amazing A very moving memoir of Orwell s stay at Crossgates, a school for the rich students in England He only afforded to go to that school because he was a bright boy The school kept him because he had a good chance of passing entrance exams in the prestigious universities later and that would help maintaining the image of the school The one part that I found so sad was that the little George did not have a cake year after year during his stay at that school because his parents could not afford it and this was just one of the ways for a poor but bright pupil could be discriminated This boyhood memoir is better than Roald Dahl s Boy A Story of Childhood as this isinspiring and meatier Charles Dickens 5 stars Amazing David Copperfield and A Tale of the Two Cities are my two novels that I first read when I was in a fresh college graduate in the mid 80s That s why they will always be among my favorite classic works In this essay, Orwell analyzes the works of Dickens in a way that is very easy to understand and will help you appreciate Dickens as a writer Orwell said that Dickens is a moralist he wanted to correct the wrongs that are perpetuated by either those in power or those who were rich in England during his time However, there are a couple of his works that do not belong to this so called social propagandist drama and they are A Tale of the Two Cities and Hard Times All the works, including David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzzlewit and Our Mutual Friend follow a certain formula and fall into the same morality theme Orwell just made me want to line up next all the other books by Dickens that are in my to be read tbr file The Art of Donald McGill 3 stars I liked it Donald McGill 1875 1962 was a cartoonist whose comic strips were very popular in England during Orwell s time Prior to this, I did not know that Britons would love daily comic strips in a way that I and my friends used to read Baltic and Co. on the dailies when we were growing up Orwell examined the comic strips over the years and wrote a detailed analysis of its main theme and McGill s outlook on marriage, sex, gender equality and drunkenness He did not say that he was McGill s fan but he would not be able to write his conclusion of this long running comic strip had he not been a fan Orwell, a comic strip s fan Rudyard Kipling 4 stars I really liked it Orwell gave his view on T S Eliot s defense of Kipling being branded as a Fascist This label seemed to be triggered by Kipling s written article regarding a white British soldier beating a nigger yes, during that time this n word was still printable Orwell tends to disagree with Eliot by saying thatthere is a definite strain of sadism in him, over and above the brutality which a write of that type has to have Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgustingJuicy, rght Considering that they were both Englishmen and highly esteemed classic novelists However, the essay is not all negative about Kipling in Orwell s point of view He says that Kipling was the only English write of their time who has added phrases to the language and they all became popular like East is East and West is West The white man s burden What do they know of England who only England know The female of the species isdeadly than the male Somewhere East of Suezand Paying the Dane geld. Raffles and Miss Blandish 4 stars I really liked it Detailed comparison between a 501 mystery book, No Orchids for Miss Blandish 1939 by James Hadley Chase and the book that Orwell said to be the book that inspired it, Raffles I have been looking for a copy of this Miss Blandish book What Orwell basically gave the plot of the story about a girl who was raped for a long period of time and she fell in love with her rapist but I did not take it as a spoiler Rather, he made me want to order the book viaso I can read it right away Well, maybe in my nexthorde Shooting the Elephant 5 stars Amazing Very short yet I guess this is the best essay in the book It talks about Orwell s stay in Burma as a policeman He hated his job because he feels that the Burmese people do not like English people as they are the colonizers, i.e., oppressors In this particular essay, there is a runaway elephant that has killed a native Being a policeman, Orwell is asked to kill the elephant I will not tell you the rest as it is too much of a spoiler If you have no time to read the whole book, just read this while standing in the bookstore I assure you that it will be worth the time and the pressure on your legs You will get a glimpse a good glimpse of what kind of man the young Orwell was that probably drove him to write his books that are said to be anti totalitarianism Politics and the English Language 4 stars I really liked it Orwell criticizing the way school professors expressed themselves in written form He even gave excerpts of these English professors formal passages He said that the decline of the English language is brought about by the foolish thoughts of the writers These thoughts were made possible because of the slovenliness of the English language Hence, the situation was similar to a man drinking because he feels himself to be a failure and he becomes a complete failure because he drinks He gamely offered these pieces of advice for writers i Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print ii Never use a long word where a short one will do iii If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out iv Never use the foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent v Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous Reflections of Gandhi 4 stars I really liked it Orwell hailed Gandhi and his non violence but he emphasized that the old man did not do anything without personal ambitions If E M Forster s Passage to India was about British hypocrisy, there were also a hint of hypocrisy in Gandhi s stance and writings For example, when Gandhi was asked what should be done with the Jews in Europe, Gandhi allegedly said that German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler s violence After the war, Gandhi justified himself the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly Marrakech 3 stars I liked it Before Hitler rose in power in 1931, Jewish jokes were common in Europe This explained he negative Jewish references that turned me off when I read my first book by Orwell a couple of years back Down and Out in Paris and London. Now I know better The Jews have that distinctive look that was also intimated by Howard Jacobson in his Booker award winning book, The Finkler Question that was my first book read this year but they are cunning as they are gutsy in business and fond of money lending with interest Well, that was according to Orwell Looking Back on the Spanish War 3 stars I liked it The resistance of the working class against Franco British, France and Russia sided with the urban trade union members while the Nazis Italy and Germany sided with Franco However, Orwell questioned the intent of Russia in the war This should have been an interesting essay but I found that war to have of little impact on me compared to WWII in the Pacific All I know is that American novelists like Hemingway or Cummings volunteered during this period as ambulance drivers This was because there was the Great Depression in the States so job was scarce Inside the Whale5 stars Amazing This is about the feeling of claustrophobia that must have been similar to what the prophet Jonas felt while inside the whale Orwell used as a springboard Henry Miller and his opus The Tropic of Cancer Orwell praised Miller for his courage of writing something that belong to the 20 s and not in fashion When Tropic of Cancer was published the Italians were marching into Abyssinia and Hitler s concentration camps were already bulging The international foci of the of the world were Rome, Moscow, and Berlin It did not seem to be a moment at which a novel of outstanding value was likely to be written about American dead beats edging drinks in the Latin Quarter France Of course a novelist is not obliged to write directly about contemporary history, but a novelist who simply disregards the major public events of the moment is generally either a footler or a plain idiot Orwell went on explaining why he found this Miller book outstanding When I first opened Tropic of Cancer and saw that it was full of imprintable words, my immediate reaction was a refusal to be impressed Most people s would be the same, I believe Nevertheless after a lapse of time, the atmosphere of the book, besides innumerable details, seemed to linger in my memory in a peculiar way Together with his other book, Black Spring, these two books created a world of their own as the saying goes The books that do this are not necessarily good books, they maybe good bad books like Raffles or the Sherlock Holmes stories, or perverse and morbid books like Wuthering Heights or The House of the Green Shutters Read him Miller for five pages, ten pages, and you feel the peculiar relief that comes not so much from understanding as from being understood. He knows all about me, you feel he wrote this especially for me It is as though you could hear a voice speaking to you, a friendly American voice, with no humbug in it, no moral purpose, merely an implicit assumption that we are all alike England Your England 3 stars I liked it An essay that he wrote while Nazi airplanes were flying on the British skies dropping bombs Contains his many complaints about Britain s political system, its stand during the war, its alliances, its expanding middle class, etc Boys Weeklies 4 stars I really liked it Orwell sold newspaper dailies when he was a young boy and this essay includes his analysis of the dailies during his time I don t know of any newspapers in Britain so I was not able to relate to this one However, I also sold newspapers in the province when I was a young boy Why I Write 5 stars Amazing From the tender age of 5 or 6, Orwell already knew that he wanted to become a writer He was the only boy in the family of 4 that includes his mother and two sisters , older and younger He was a lonely boy probably because he did grow up with a father and he found comfort in books reading stories and novels and and writing poetry At the age of 16, he read Milton s Paradise Lost that made him realized that the beauty of the English language He gave the following as motivations the drive writers to write 1 Sheer egoism 2 Esthetic enthusiasm 3 Historical impulse 4 Political purposeOrwell did not say it but I think the last one was what drove him to write 1984 and Animal Farm He wanted to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after No book is genuinely free from political bias The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude p 313.Sorry for the long review I was just carried away by this book I did not know that reading essays could be as exciting and enriching as reading works of fiction

  2. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. George Orwell is one of the inescapable writers of the last century Far from becoming irrelevant, his works seem to becomesignificant with each passing year as most recently evidenced by the present administration s strained relationship with the truth Orwell himself said that the final test of any work of art is survival, and his works seem on track to pass this final test His dys What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. George Orwell is one of the inescapable writers of the last century Far from becoming irrelevant, his works seem to becomesignificant with each passing year as most recently evidenced by the present administration s strained relationship with the truth Orwell himself said that the final test of any work of art is survival, and his works seem on track to pass this final test His dystopian novel recently became a surprise best seller, almost seventy years after its initial publication That isthan mere survival.And yet it isn t for his political insights that I opened this collection of essays It was rather and I feel somewhat silly saying this for his writing style Orwell s writing is, for me, a model of modern prose His style can accommodate both the abstract and the concrete, the homely and the refined, the pretentious and the vulgar his prose can satisfy both the academic and the artist, the intellectual and the layperson, the Panurge and the parish priest It is unmistakably modern, even sleek, while obviously informed by the tastes and standards of the past It is fiery, angry, and political, while remaining intimate, human, and honest Something that repeatedly struck me while reading this collection was an inner conflict in Orwell s worldview There are two sides of the man, sometimes in harmony, and sometimes at odds the writer and the activist Orwell the writer is captivated by the rhythms of words, the sounds of sentences he loves ruminating on a strange personality or a memorable story he is enchanted by the details of daily life Orwell the activist is outraged at injustice and uncompromising in his moral sense he sees people as a collection of allies and enemies, taking part in a grand struggle to bring about a better society, or a worse one.Orwell himself discusses this tension in his little essay, Why I Write In apeaceful age, he thinks, he could have been an entirely aesthetic writer, perhaps a poet, not paying much attention to politics It was his firsthand experience of imperialism, poverty, and fascism that activated his political conscience Specifically, it was the Spanish Civil War that tipped the scale for him Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism Be that as it may, Orwell seems to have repeatedly struggled to reconcile this aim with hishumanistic side In his brilliant essay on Dickens, for example, he spends page after page trying to analyze Dickens as a kind of social philosopher, examining Dickens s views on work, on the state, on education, and so on Since Dickens was anything but a philosopher as Orwell himself admits this repeatedly leads to frustrating dead ends, and fails completely to do justice to Dickens s work It is only in the last section, where Orwell drops this pretense and treats Dickens as a novelist, that the essay becomes deeply insightful Indeed, it soon becomes clear it seems clear to me, at least that Orwell likes Dickens for his writing, and not his activism, however much he may wish to think otherwise.Other essays exhibit this same tension In his essay on vulgar postcard art, for example, he notes how backward is the social worldview expressed in the cards but he is obviously quite fond of them and even ventures to defend them by likening their humor to Sancho Panza s His essay on boy s magazines follows an identical pattern, exposing their conservative ideology while betraying a keen interest in, even a warm fondness for, the stories In his appreciative essay on Rudyard Kipling s poems, he even goes so far as to defend Kipling s political views, at least from accusations of fascism.It is largely due to Orwell s influence, I think, that nowadays it is uncontroversial to see the political implications in a movie cast or a Halloween costume In all of these essays, Orwell worked to undermine the na ve distinction between politics and everyday life, showing how we absorb messages about standards, values, and ideologies from every direction He did not merely state that All art is propaganda, but he tried to show it, both in his analyses and his own fiction At least half the time, he is utterly convincing in this And indeed, Orwell was such a brilliant man that, even when I think he s involved in a pointless exercise, he makes so many penetrating observations along the way incidentally, parenthetically that his writing fully absorbs me We owe a tremendous debt to Orwell for this insight Nevertheless, I can t help thinking that there is something terribly limiting about this perspective All art may be propaganda, but it is not only propaganda it is not even primarily so There needs to be room in criticism, as in life, for the non political We need to be able to enjoy a novelist because of his characters and not his views on the state, a poet for his lines rather than his opinions, a dirty joke or a trashy magazine just because we want a laugh and a break Orwell would agree with me up to a point, I think, but would also say that every decision to be non political implicitly accepts the status quo, and is therefore conservative This may be true but it is also true that such non political things are necessary to live a full life.Where I most disagree with Orwell is his conviction that the media we consume magazines, post cards, popular novels, television nefariously and decisively shape our worldview For my part, I suspect that people absorb their opinionsfrom their community, face to face, and then seek out media that corresponds with their pre existing views not the reverse Media may reinforce these views and give them shape and drive, but I don t think it generates them.All this is besides the point I admire Orwell, for his fierce independence, for his sense of outrage and injustice, for his facility with words, for his attempt to blend art and truth In other words, I admire both the writer and the activist, and I think his work should be read until judgment day

  3. Randy Randy says:

    Given the 70 years that have passed since the publication of most of these essays, I ve weighted my evaluation of this collection toward those essays that still retain some relevance.And granted, there is some seriously anachronistic stuff here Some real snoozers that are stuck so firmly in time and place that only the most devoted anglophiles or Orwellians would be interested The Art of Donald McGill , England Your England , Boys Weeklies.But the majority of essays are written with ter Given the 70 years that have passed since the publication of most of these essays, I ve weighted my evaluation of this collection toward those essays that still retain some relevance.And granted, there is some seriously anachronistic stuff here Some real snoozers that are stuck so firmly in time and place that only the most devoted anglophiles or Orwellians would be interested The Art of Donald McGill , England Your England , Boys Weeklies.But the majority of essays are written with terrific clarity and foresight, carried by Orwell s power of observation and knack for capturing insight in pithy, memorable sentences Indeed, this is probably one the most quotable books I ve read in a long while Some examples you can only create if you care when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys The great enemy of clear language is insincerity No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth are things a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing human beings must avoid This command of the sentence is reminiscent of Emerson s best work But unlike Emerson, Orwell retains full command of the essay in form and function as well Even the most anachornistic essays in this collection are still focused and rooted in finely observed detail For this alone, Marrakech and Such, Such Were the Joys are worth reading.But Orwell s sharpest and most relevant commentary can be found in the essays about the nature of political power, language, and writing Shooting an Elephant , Politics and the English Language , Why I Write In these he articulates the interplay of language and power the way words can conceal as well as clarify No surprise that he s thought so deeply about what would be at the heart of his masterpiece.Even the critical pieces on Dickens and Rudyard Kipling offer insights about those authors that I hadn t considered before Charles Dickens , in particular, is both savage and enlightening.Worth reading for the political essays alone and if you re an impatient reader, pick and choose what interests you from the rest

  4. William1 William1 says:

    Selected essays I thought the essays here on Dickens and Kipling were revelations About ninety percent of the essays cited by other authors that I have read are included here I also particularly liked Inside the Whale, a paean to Henry Miller s masterpiece, Tropic of Cancer.

  5. notgettingenough notgettingenough says:

    Having discussions lately about the topic that keeps academics in business, I guess what is literature as opposed to other forms of fiction, I d like to give access to this Orwell essay as a meaningful point of departure I feel like I keep talking and arguing without any lines definitions meanings in place.Good bad books Essay by George Orwell First published 2 November 1945.Not long ago a publisher commissioned me to write an introduction for a reprint of a novel by Leonard Merrick This pu Having discussions lately about the topic that keeps academics in business, I guess what is literature as opposed to other forms of fiction, I d like to give access to this Orwell essay as a meaningful point of departure I feel like I keep talking and arguing without any lines definitions meanings in place.Good bad books Essay by George Orwell First published 2 November 1945.Not long ago a publisher commissioned me to write an introduction for a reprint of a novel by Leonard Merrick This publishing house, it appears, is going to reissue a long series of minor and partly forgotten novels of the twentieth century It is a valuable service in these bookless days, and I rather envy the person whose job it will be to scout round the threepenny boxes, hunting down copies of his boyhood favourites.A type of book which we hardly seem to produce in these days, but which flowered with great richness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is what Chesterton called the good bad book that is, the kind of book that has no literary pretensions but which remains readable whenserious productions have perished Obviously outstanding books in this line are RAFFLES and the Sherlock Holmes stories, which have kept their place when innumerable problem novels , human documents and terrible indictments of this or that have fallen into deserved oblivion Who has worn better, Conan Doyle or Meredith Almost in the same class as these I, put R Austin Freeman s earlier stories The Singing Bone The Eye of Osiris and others Ernest Bramah s MAX CARRADOS, and, dropping the standard a bit, Guy Boothby s Tibetan thriller, DR NIKOLA, a sort of schoolboy version of Hue s TRAVELS IN TARTARY, which would probably make a real visit to Central Asia seem a dismal anticlimax.But apart from thrillers, there were the minor humorous writers of the period For example, Pett Ridge but I admit his full length books no longer seem readable E Nesbit THE TREASURE SEEKERS , George Birmingham, who was good so long as he kept off politics, the pornographic Binstead Pitcher of the PINK UN , and, if American books can be included, Booth Tarkington s Penrod stories A cut above most of these was Barry Pain Some of Pain s humorous writings are, I suppose, still in print, but to anyone who comes across it I recommend what must now be a very rare book THE OCTAVE OF CLAUDIUS, a brilliant exercise in the macabre Somewhat later in time there was Peter Blundell, who wrote in the W.W Jacobs vein about Far Eastern seaport towns, and who seems to be rather unaccountably forgotten, in spite of having been praised in print by H.G Wells.However, all the books I have been speaking of are frankly escape literature They form pleasant patches in one s memory, quiet corners where the mind can browse at odd moments, but they hardly pretend to have anything to do with real life There is another kind of good bad book which isseriously intended, and which tells us, I think, something about the nature of the novel and the reasons for its present decadence During the last fifty years there has been a whole series of writers some of them are still writing whom it is quite impossible to call good by any strictly literary standard, but who are natural novelists and who seem to attain sincerity partly because they are not inhibited by good taste In this class I put Leonard Merrick himself, W.L George, J.D Beresford, Ernest Raymond, May Sinclair, and at a lower level than the others but still essentially similar A.S.M Hutchinson.Most of these have been prolific writers, and their output has naturally varied in quality I am thinking in each case of one or two outstanding books for example, Merrick s CYNTHIA, J.D Beresford s A CANDIDATE FOR TRUTH, W.L George s CALIBAN, May Sinclair s THE COMBINED MAZE and Ernest Raymond s WE, THE ACCUSED In each of these books the author has been able to identify himself with his imagined characters, to feel with them and invite sympathy on their behalf with a kind of abandonment that cleverer people would find it difficult to achieve They bring out the fact that intellectual refinement can be a disadvantage to a story teller, as it would be to a music hall comedian.Take, for example, Ernest Raymond s WE, THE ACCUSED a peculiarly sordid and convincing murder story, probably based on the Crippen case I think it gains a great deal from the fact that the author only partly grasps the pathetic vulgarity of the people he is writing about, and therefore does not despise them Perhaps it even like Theodore Dreiser s An AMERICAN TRAGEDY gains something from the clumsy long winded manner in which it is written detail is piled on detail, with almost no attempt at selection, and in the process an effect of terrible, grinding cruelty is slowly built up So also with A CANDIDATE FOR TRUTH Here there is not the same clumsiness, but there is the same ability to take seriously the problems of commonplace people So also with CYNTHIA and at any rate the earlier part of Caliban The greater part of what W.L George wrote was shoddy rubbish, but in this particular book, based on the career of Northcliffe, he achieved some memorable and truthful pictures of lower middle class London life Parts of this book are probably autobiographical, and one of the advantages of good bad writers is their lack of shame in writing autobiography Exhibitionism and self pity are the bane of the novelist, and yet if he is too frightened of them his creative gift may suffer.The existence of good bad literature 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 I imagine that by any test that could be devised, Carlyle would be found to be aintelligent man than Trollope Yet Trollope has remained readable and Carlyle has not with all his cleverness he had not even the wit to write in plain straightforward English In novelists, almost as much as in poets, the connection between intelligence and creative power is hard to establish A good novelist may be a prodigy of self discipline like Flaubert, or he may be an intellectual sprawl like Dickens Enough talent to set up dozens of ordinary writers has been poured into Wyndham Lewis s so called novels, such as TARR or SNOOTY BARONET Yet it would be a very heavy labour to read one of these books right through Some indefinable quality, a sort of literary vitamin,which exists even in a book like IF WINTER COMES, is absent from them.Perhaps the supreme example of the good bad book is UNCLE TOM S CABIN It is an unintentionally ludicrous book, full of preposterous melodramatic incidents it is also deeply moving and essentially true it is hard to say which quality outweighs the other But UNCLE TOM S CABIN, after all, is trying to be serious and to deal with the real world How about the frankly escapist writers, the purveyors of thrills and light humour How about SHERLOCK HOLMES, VICE VERSA, DRACULA, HELEN S BABIES or KING SOLOMON S MINES All of these are definitely absurd books, books which one isinclined to laugh AT than WITH, and which were hardly taken seriously even by their authors yet they have survived, and will probably continue to do so All one can say is that, while civilisation remains such that one needs distractionfrom time to time, light literature has its appointed place also that there is such a thing as sheer skill, or native grace, which may havesurvival value than erudition or intellectual power There are music hall songs which are better poems than three quarters of the stuff that gets into the anthologies Come where the booze is cheaper,Come where the pots hold ,Come where the boss is a bit of a sport,Come to the pub next door Or again Two lovely black eyesOh, what a surprise Only for calling another man wrong,Two lovely black eyes I would far rather have written either of those than, say, The Blessed Damozel or Love in the Valley And by the same token I would back UNCLE TOM S CABIN to outlive the complete works of Virginia Woolf or George Moore, though I know of no strictly literary test which would show where the superiority lies

  6. David David says:

    Orwell writes so well you want to give him a standing ovation This collection contains several classic essays Shooting an Elephant , Politics and the English Language , Such, Such were the Joys memories of his schooldays as well as amazing pieces on Dickens, Kipling, and the state of literature in the 1930s Inside the Whale Whether writing about the English national character, analyzing the content and effect of popular comics for boys, or explaining his own compulsion to write Orwell writes so well you want to give him a standing ovation This collection contains several classic essays Shooting an Elephant , Politics and the English Language , Such, Such were the Joys memories of his schooldays as well as amazing pieces on Dickens, Kipling, and the state of literature in the 1930s Inside the Whale Whether writing about the English national character, analyzing the content and effect of popular comics for boys, or explaining his own compulsion to write, Orwell is always engaging and writes in clear, crisp prose that most essayists can only aspire to These extraordinary essays will sweep away any niggling resentment of Orwell you might feel because you were forced to read Animal Farm and or 1984 in high school, and inspire you to seek outof his work

  7. Salam Almahi Salam Almahi says:

    Okay so, let s get one thing straight My review is not of this particular book, but I ve read a collection of Orwell s essays and didn t know how to mark them The essays I read are Politics and The English Language It was what intrigued me to read these bunch of essays in the first place I got the idea that it was what gave birth to the idea of Newspeak the language used in 1984 , but upon reading it, it was very different. More like a critique of changes in writing styles Orwell was ve Okay so, let s get one thing straight My review is not of this particular book, but I ve read a collection of Orwell s essays and didn t know how to mark them The essays I read are Politics and The English Language It was what intrigued me to read these bunch of essays in the first place I got the idea that it was what gave birth to the idea of Newspeak the language used in 1984 , but upon reading it, it was very different. More like a critique of changes in writing styles Orwell was very bitter lol in his criticism, though Some Thoughts on the Common Toad This was, I think, my favorite of the collection It basically sends the message that even though the world is crumbling around us, doesn t mean that we can t appreciate the little beautiful things surrounding us Shooting An Elephant This essay, was the most thought provoking of them all It made me think of colonization in a deeper way It was very interesting to see the point of view of someone among the colonizers You and the Atomic Bomb I could see many ideas that ended in the book in 1984 forming in this essay, and like 1984 it was somewhat prophetical Confessions of a Book Reviewer I thought I d relateto this essay but it was in fact,like a description of how a life of a professional book reviewer is someone who does it as a job So naturally did not relate But George Orwell did build a realistic, almost tangible setting and atmosphere Poetry and the Microphone Reminded me of what we now call Podcasts Orwell would ve been proud that this thing exists now But the dilemma of the image of poetry, and its accessibility is still unfortunately, present Books Vs Cigarettes THE BEST ARGUMENTS AGAINST BOOK BUYING HATERS In conclusion, I can say with confidence, that I prefer Orwell s nonfiction, over his fiction

  8. Nooilforpacifists Nooilforpacifists says:

    Includes Shooting the Elephant and Politics and the English Language Genius.

  9. LindaH LindaH says:

    I went for Orwell s six part essay on Dickens first since I am rereading Bleak House right now I ve decided to get down these thoughts, and break GR s rules, before reading the rest of the book In the first paragraph of the fifth section, Orwell s got my number He is aware, says he, that any fan of Dickens is by now angry at him I am a fan of Dickens, I was annoyed by his assessment of Dickens status as nothing but a moralist Dickens s criticism of society is almost exclusively moral He I went for Orwell s six part essay on Dickens first since I am rereading Bleak House right now I ve decided to get down these thoughts, and break GR s rules, before reading the rest of the book In the first paragraph of the fifth section, Orwell s got my number He is aware, says he, that any fan of Dickens is by now angry at him I am a fan of Dickens, I was annoyed by his assessment of Dickens status as nothing but a moralist Dickens s criticism of society is almost exclusively moral Hence the utter lack of any constructive suggestion anywhere in his work I can appreciate Orwell s arguments but does he have to be so dismissive of Dickens genius Orwell s judgments are so colored by his politics Dickens s views on the servant question do not get much beyond wishing that master and servant would love one another Still, I have to admit, I was seeing Dickens work in a whole new way And every now and then he sweeps me off my feet with his prescience Without a high level of mechanical development, human equality is not practically possible Dickens goes to show that it is not imaginable either All in all, I was am fascinated by Orwell s take on Dickens, which feels only slightly dated It was written in 1940 Indeed, he is bringing up stuff we In the 21st century ought to revisit and consider Wonderfully as he can describe an APPEARANCE, Dickens does not often describe a process Everything is seen from the consumer angle When he speaks of human progress it is usually in terms of MORAL progress men growing better probably he would never admit that men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be Having gone into example after example of actual work NOT being described, Orwell throws us fans a bone No modern man could combine such purposelessness with so much vitality This is the very line that precedes the I know you re angry dear Reader sop at the beginning of Part V But he goes on to make me realize I have grown a bit in the direction of reality in my appreciation of Dickens After going into Dickens negatives at length, Orwell gets around to his numero uno stroke of brilliance, his use of the UNNECESSARY DETAIL By now, his summaries set well I am a convert Dickens is obviously a writer whose parts are greater than his wholes He is all fragments, all details rotten architecture, but wonderful gargoyles and never better than when he is building up some character who will later on be forced to act inconsistently Isn t this what a great essayist does He slides effortlessly into a subject close to the reader s heart, wrenches him around with logic for awhile, and leaves him gasping but edified, at the final period Orwell sees in Dickens a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is GENEROUSLY ANGRY in other words, of a nineteenth century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls Now for the other forty nine essays

  10. Farah Al-Shuhail Farah Al-Shuhail says:

    An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats

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