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George Orwell
     

George Orwell

by Gordon Bowker
 
Few writers can boast the brilliant legacy of George Orwell, both in his additions to the English language - Big Brother, Room 101, Doublethink - and through his profound influence on world literature.

In this definitive biography, Bowker describes in fascinating detail Orwell's early childhood and Eton upbringing; his time in Burma; his astonishing reportage about

Overview

Few writers can boast the brilliant legacy of George Orwell, both in his additions to the English language - Big Brother, Room 101, Doublethink - and through his profound influence on world literature.

In this definitive biography, Bowker describes in fascinating detail Orwell's early childhood and Eton upbringing; his time in Burma; his astonishing reportage about poverty in Britain and France; fighting against the fascists in Spain; and the extraordinary success before his death of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Meticulously researched, Gordon Bowker's biography offers the most fully realised account yet of this pivotal literary figure.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An outstanding, if somewhat superfluous, account of "one of the great misfits of his generation."With Jeffrey Meyers's recent Orwell (2000) on most library shelves, it's hard to see the need for yet another comprehensive biography. But English literary biographer Bowker (Through the Dark Labyrinth, 1997, etc.) is determined to leave no stone unturned in flushing out the artful political writer's emotional life, especially the distressing contradiction between his public honesty and his private furtiveness. The avid Orwellian will soon be won over by Bowker's amiable prose and thorough familiarity with his subject's milieu. While the text is long, it moves swiftly from Eric Blair's "golden age" growing up in Edwardian Oxfordshire through the dreadful St. Cyprian's boarding school (immortalized in the essay "Such, Such Were the Joys") to Orwell's puzzling yet life-defining five-year service as a policeman in colonial Burma. (Emma Larkin's Finding George Orwell in Burma, p. 403, offers superb treatment of this period.) The author authoritatively traces the evolution of "George Orwell" through Blair's repudiation of his colonial bourgeois roots (Down and Out in Paris and London), the forging of his socialist conscience (The Road to Wigan Pier) and his deep suspicion of Soviet communism (Homage to Catalonia) toward the prophetic clarity of his political perception (Animal Farm, 1984). As well, Bowker provides excellent historical context and a nice sense of the personalities involved. He does not attempt to gloss over Orwell's less savory qualities, acknowledging the writer's misogyny and recently exposed tendency to "pounce" on undefended women. The final chapter takes an intriguing look athow Orwell's work was posthumously co-opted to serve the right-wing Cold War cause due to the naivete of Sonia Brownell, the bride he took virtually on his deathbed in 1949. No matter how many incursions are made into his life, the compelling fascination of this politically and morally crucial author always comes through.
From the Publisher
An exhilaratingly crowded book—INDEPENDENT

Magisterial—DAILY MAIL

Invaluable... superb and fascinating biography adds enormously to our understanding of the man—EVENING STANDARD

Bowker's biography is that of a scholar... he has the ability to select the right detail and let it speak for itself—SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316861151
Publisher:
Little, Brown & Company
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.77(d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Bowker has written highly acclaimed biographies of Malcolm Lowry (a New York Times Recommended Book of the Year) and Lawrence Durrell, and articles and reviews for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

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