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|Print List Price:||£7.99|
Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Essays (Penguin Modern Classics) New Ed , Kindle Edition
|Length: 500 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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But where Orwell scores above any other writer in his league was how much hard experience he had accumulated in his short life to set against his insights and opinions - a Police Officer in Burma, a slum dweller in Paris, a tramp in London, a wounded combatant in Spain - so that when he speaks, you listen.
With his clear uncluttered prose he conjures up worlds - a nauseating slum hospital in Paris, the Technicolor kingdoms of Seaside Postcards and Boy's Weeklies, his hellish Preparatory School in Eastbourne.
As to be expected, his analysis of Art and Literature - from Dali to Henry Miller to James Hadley Chase - is always worth reading, but perhaps more surprising is his love of nature and the English Countryside. But it was the latter that grounded him and provided a contrast to what he dedicated his life to opposing - Totalitarianism. `They' don't want you to enjoy the simple pleasures in nature (see `Some thoughts on the Common Toad')
Of course, being Orwell, Politics runs throughout all this, but don't be deterred - whatever your political orientation, this is a man who will always discuss, not harangue. In fact I recommend you read this book with a pencil to hand to highlight all the passages that apply exactly to today's world - your margins will be a mess of grey lines! The tragedy is that he didn't live longer to comment and advise and enlighten us some more. If you were to ask me to name two writers who epitomise a sort of utterly decent, good, civilised English type that can no longer exist it would be Orwell and Wodehouse - Wodehouse and Orwell.
Taking the first point first, this essay compilation includes far more of Orwell's writings than the other common compilations available. Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays is itself a fine compilation, but seems, after leafing through the Everyman's Library essay compilation, to be lacking some important essays: "The Lion & The Unicorn" and "Notes on Nationalism" to name just two though dozens more could be listed. Also, the Everyman's edition includes Orwell's writings for Tribune, namely his column "As I please".
To the second point then, this edition contains a little note from the editor on the inside sleeve and a little timeline of Orwell's life, along side which major political events and literary works of the time, are included. The essays themselves are printed in chronological order, which is a lovely touch
Lastly, it is a relatively dinky hardbound edition, with the typical Everyman's "Livery". It comes with a golden tassel stitched to it as a sort of in-house bookmark, and all is printed in a decent font, in a print which isn't too small.
To my mind, the most significant drawback is that this edition feels a little cramped, that is to say new essays are started without a page break, and the essays where a Orwell is setting out categories for things or subheadings,a line break would create a more spacious feel. Christopher Hitchens' equally brilliant essay compilation "Arguably" has these breaks, and looks more stylish for it.
To serious readers of Orwell then, I recommend this tome. I even recommend it as an introduction to his essays, for if one were to first buy any of the other essay compilations available, one will likely be buying this edition in end anyway.
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