I’ve written enough about George Orwell here that I won’t get into much background on the man. My purpose today is simply to provide an Orwell bibliography and make some brief remarks about each book, whenever I can do so knowledgeably. I’ll come back and complete the reviews after reading the titles that I can’t recall enough of right now to write about.
If you’re not sure where to jump in, I would always recommend 1984 and Animal Farm, which best summarize what Orwell believed in, worried about, and fought against in his own way.
In chronological order:
Books by George Orwell
Down And Out In Paris And London
Down And Out is a recounting of Orwell’s (back then he was still Eric Blair) experiences tramping through these two cities, living the life of the transients. In The World of George Orwell from the Modern Scholar Series, professor Michael Shelden states that the juxtaposition of the two cities doesn’t quite work, and might have been better split into two books. I read this book again about a year and was inclined to agree this time around.
An indictment of racism, some aspects of British Imperialism, and corruption. The most interesting commentary I’ve found on Burmese Days was in the wonderful book Finding George Orwell In Burma by Emma Larkin.
A Clergyman’s Daughter
Keep The Aspidistra Flying
Your first question might well be, “What on earth is an aspidistra?” Wonder no more: it’s a plant that can survive in the low light of an oil lamp. Aspidistra has echoes to me of Self Reliance and Christopher McCandless from Into The Wild. It’s about a well-to-do man who decides to leave the world of business, greed, and the perversions of money, and live a simple life as a poet. It doesn’t go that well.
The Road To Wigan Pier
Homage To Catalonia
Coming Up For Air
A brief, chilling story about a revolution that eventually leads to even greater oppression than before. After all the times I’ve read it, I still think that Animal Farm’s greatest strength is its simplicity. It is nearly impossible to draw conclusions from the work other than those Orwell wanted us to.
Please see my full review of 1984.
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