“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” First published OTD in 1945, George Orwell’s novella ‘Animal Farm’.

‘The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but … More

Born OTD in 1903, English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic, Eric Arthur Blair, AKA George Orwell. George Orwell wrote, in his words, from ‘a desire to see things as they are’. This new collection of his journalism and other writings, including articles, essays, broadcasts, poems, book and film reviews from across his career, shows his unmatched genius for observing the world. Whether discussing Polish immigration or Scottish independence, railing against racism, defending the English language or holding an imaginary conversation with Jonathan Swift, these pieces reveal a clear-eyed, entertaining and eternally relevant chronicler of his age.

Edited with an introduction by Peter Davison ‘Orwell’s luminous gift was for seeing things, for noticing what others missed, took … More

First published OTD in 1949, George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language and the author’s surname are often invoked against control and intrusion by the state, and the adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia that is characterised by government control and subjugation of the people.

Orwell’s invented language, Newspeak, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) oversees torture and brainwashing, … More

“In ‘Why I Write’, Orwell entertainingly declared: “All writers are vain, selfish & lazy, & at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” He divided reasons for soldiering on into “sheer egoism”, “aesthetic enthusiasm”, “historical impulse” & “political purpose”. Like Orwell, Levy is entertaining & makes his categories her chapter headings. But, unlike Orwell, she is not steadily organised. She is a maker not a clearer up of mysteries. And she is fugitive. It is this that gives the book its subtle, unpredictable, surprising atmosphere.”

The opening line hooks one instantly: “That spring when life was hard and I was at war with my lot … More

Crick’s George Orwell is important because this English political scientist is the first writer to have been given unrestricted access to Orwell’s papers as well as unlimited rights of quotation. The result is the best-written and most comprehensive Orwell biography to date — which means it suffers only by comparison with Orwell’s own work.

Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were the first books to capture the mass audience he coveted, but it was the … More

Orwell works out that before the war he was spending £20 a year on beer & tobacco & that he currently spends £40 per year on tobacco. He works out the national average spent on beer & tobacco to be £40 a year. Noting that it is difficult to establish a relationship between the price of different types of books & the value derived from them…

Orwell works out that if books are read simply recreationally, the cost per hour is less than the cost of … More