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Shooting an Elephant: And Other Essays (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 5 Jun 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (5 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141187395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141187396
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. His novels and non-fiction include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A fabulous collection of essays from one of the great masters of the form. It's fascinating to see him realise that the political Left is as susceptible as the Right to stultifying orthodoxy. From the outset though Orwell shows himself to be a very English sort of radical: wary of isms and ologies, of grand plans and hyperbole.

He really has more in common than he'd perhaps have liked to admit with Dickens, the subject of one of the best essays here. Both were a complex mixture of progressive and traditionalist. Orwell is additionally a mixture of Internationalist and patriot and we see this reflected here with an essay on the Spanish Civil War followed by one in defence of English cooking.

Back to Dickens, why is he so interesting to Orwell? He suggests it's because he read Dickens during the crucial years of childhood. I think there's more to it than that: beneath Orwell's criticisms of Dickens lies the knowledge that for all his limitations Dickens is the greater novelist. He may lack powers of analysis - it's hard to imagine him writing an essay of anywhere near this penetration - but his characters breathe.

Orwell is too honest a thinker to evade this truth, just as he's too honest a thinker to tow the Leftist party line. This honesty coupled with a wonderful curiosity about the world means that in this collection you'll find essays about everything from toads, nonsense poetry and the value of popular fiction to reflections on Gandhi and an unforgettable description of a pauper's hospital. Recommended!
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George Orwell gained 1st hand experience of his subjects, allowing him to express a huge understanding and use an amazing and unique writing style to communicate real emotion from an often distant but very understanding perspective. His essays are incredibly honest and probably even more enjoyable than his novels.
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This is a brilliant collection of essays, covering a wide range of subjects all written with a precise informative style which typified Orwell's work. The essay "A hanging" is one of the best ever descriptions of the horrors of capital punishment and is profoundly moving in its quiet depiction of the last few minutes of a mans life. Other essays cover subjects from Food to politics to how to write well

Totally absorbing and brilliant
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By os TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback
The genius of Orwell is that what ever the subject- Shakespeare, imperialism, tabloid journalism, Ghandi or what ever,he writes with a simplicity and directness that is almost conversational in tone but loaded with a clear headed wisdom that is borne of learning and a life well lived. The essays contained in this little book are little marvels, they entertain, provoke and instruct in equal measure. Despite the fact that some of these works date from the late 1930's, Orwell is surprisingly prescient in his analysis of Communism,the growth of corporatism and the spread of American power. Likewise,his 'Examination of Gulliver's Travels' is masterly as his 'Confessions of a Book Reviewer' is amusing and no doubt entirely accurate. I recommend this work- firstly because much of what Orwell has to say is relevant even today and secondly, he is a beautiful prose stylist. Recommended.
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Classic amusing logical thought remains relevant today - series of essays, some long others brief, with flashes of humour along with acerbic critiscism of some modern mores. Good holiday reading.
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Has a resounding relevance to contemporary culture, read it and weep that what Orwell saw in the forties and wrote so succinctly and clearly in these essays exists all too frequently now.
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I did enjoy. Some stories/reflections were more interesting than others. Loved the language and eloquence used more than anything else and as a stay at home mother, short stories and good writing and rich language is just the thing needed when the only word you can think of for disgusting is 'yucky'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful writing - just as one would expect. A really lovely travel companion when one wants something that can be dipped into but is good quality writing.
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