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A Life in Letters Appearing for the first time in one volume these trenchant letters tell the elouent narrative of Orwell’s life in his own wordsFrom his school days to his tragic early death George Orwell who never wrote an autobiography chronicled the dramatic events of his turbulent life in a profusion of powerful letters Indeed one of the twentieth century’s most revered icons was a lively prolific correspondent who developed in rich nuanced dispatches the ideas that would influence generations of writers and intellectuals This historic work—never before published in America and featuring many previously unseen letters—presents an account of Orwell’s interior life as personal and absorbing as readers may ever seeOver the course of a lifetime Orwell corresponded with hundreds of people including many distinguished political and artistic figures Witty personal and profound the letters tell the story of Orwell’s passionate first love that ended in devastation and explains how young Eric Arthur Blair chose the pseudonym George Orwell In missives to luminaries such as T S Eliot Stephen Spender Arthur Koestler Cyril Connolly and Henry Miller he spells out his literary and philosophical beliefs Readers will encounter Orwell’s thoughts on matters both uotidian poltergeists and the art of playing crouet and historical—including his illuminating descriptions of war shattered Barcelona and pronouncements on bayonets and the immanent cruelty of chaining German prisonersThe letters also reveal the origins of his famous novels To a fan he wrote I think and have thought ever since the war beganthat our cause is the better but we have to keep on making it the better which involves constant criticism A paragraph before he explained that the British intelligentsia in 1944 were perfectly ready for dictatorial methods secret police systematic falsification of history prefiguring the themes of 1984 Entrusting the manuscript of Animal Farm to Leonard Moore his literary agent Orwell describes it as a sort of fairy story really a fable with political meaningThis book is murder from the Communist point of viewHardly known outside a small circle of Orwell scholars these rare letters include Orwell’s message to Dwight Macdonald of 5 December 1946 explaining Animal Farm; his correspondence with his first translator R N Raimbault with English translations of the French originals; and the moving encomium written about Orwell by his BBC head of department after his service there The volume concludes with a fearless account of the painful illness that took Orwell’s life at age forty seven His last letter concerns his son and his estate and closes with the words Beyond that I can’t make plans at presentMeticulously edited and fully annotated by Peter Davison the world’s preeminent Orwell scholar the volume presents Orwell “in all his varieties” and his relationships with those most close to him especially his first wife Eileen Combined with rare photographs and hand drawn illustrations George Orwell A Life in Letters offers everything a reader new to Orwell needs to knowand a great deal that diehard fans will be enchanted to have New Statesmen



10 thoughts on “A Life in Letters

  1. says:

    I love this collection of letters I just wish I could find my copy to finish itFound it and finished That only took 35 years in all Might be a record for a book I’ve been actively reading


  2. says:

    Orwell led a difficult life after the Spanish Civil War Wounded in the throat in Barcelona he was already struggling with the tuberculosis which would kill him in 1950 His first wife died in 1944 leaving him to care for their infant son alone Four years later he himself was hospitalized He spent most of his last 2 years in hospital These letters deal with how Or


  3. says:

    Born at the start of the 20th century George Orwell was a complex character who lived through tumultuous times He was foremost among the great intellectual writers and thinkers of his day renowned for tackling issues like poverty totalitarianism and the surveillance state and is today most widely remembered for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty FourThrough


  4. says:

    There's not much here that isn't in the Collected Letters Essays and Journalism but enough that I'm glad I read it Dear Orwell always a joy to spend some time with him


  5. says:

    Letters are so great Too bad that for the most part they are a thing of the past


  6. says:

    Fascinating account of the day to day matters concerning his life during numerous conflicts of the first half of the 20th Century


  7. says:

    Am I a member of the youngest generation still to think of Orwell as the ideal person to be? I don't hear it from anyone younger And now this wonderful gives me reason to idealize him he's so much what I just miss being He is the the man who could write to a girl who was engaged to a friend Dear Eleanor it was so nice of you to say that you looked back to your days with me with pleasur


  8. says:

    In distilling the 1700 letters written by Orwell Davison set himself two goals the letters should illustrate his life and hopes and “each should be of interest in its own right” This volume admirably fulfills this twofold mission; it is a tribute to Davison’s decades long scholarship on Orwell’s life Daniel P King Whitefish Bay WisconsinThis book was reviewed in the March 2014 issue


  9. says:

    I have very little physical jealousy I don’t much care who sleeps with whom it seems to me what matters is being faithful in anemotional and intellectual sense George Orwell 1903 1950 in a letter to Anne Popham 18 April 1946 I wonder who your young man is now ?I have thought of you so often—have you thought about me I wonder ? I know it’s indiscreet to write such things in letters but you


  10. says:

    A strange book to read in many ways because it is so different from the Orwell we know It's really a life in letters of Eric Blair


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