Arguably the most influential political writer of the twentieth century, George Orwell remains a crucial voice for our times. Known world-wide for his two best-selling masterpieces Nineteen Eighty-Four, a gripping portrait of a dystopian future, and Animal Farm, a brilliant satire on the Russian Revolution, Orwell has been revered as an essayist, journalist and literary-political intellectual, and his works have exerted a powerful international impact on the post-World War Two era. This Introduction examines Orwell's life, work and legacy, addressing his towering achievement and his ongoing appeal. Combining important biographical detail with close analysis of his writings, the book considers the various genres in which Orwell wrote: the realistic novel, the essay, journalism and the anti-utopia. Ideally suited for readers approaching Orwell's work for the first time, the book concludes with an extended reflection on why George Orwell has enjoyed a literary afterlife unprecedented among modern authors in any language.
John Rodden has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Texas, Austin. He has authored or edited a number of books on Orwell, including The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell (2007). John Rossi is Professor Emeritus of History at La Salle University, Philadelphia. Along with his interest in George Orwell, he has also written extensively about major topics in British history, particularly the life and times of Winston Churchill.
Chronology; Introduction; Part I. Life and Context: 1. Background and school days; 2. Burma and the wasted years; 3. The struggle to become a writer; 4. Orwell's breakthrough; 5. Spain and Orwell's political education; 6. Orwell's war; 7. Last years; Part II. Works: 8. Burmese Days; 9. A Clergyman's Daughter; 10. Keep the Aspidistra Flying; 11. Coming Up for Air; 12. Down and Out in Paris and London; 13. The Road to Wigan Pier; 14. Homage to Catalonia; 15. Orwell, the essayist; 16. A Hanging and Shooting an Elephant; 17. Inside the Whale; 18. Critical Essays; 19. Animal Farm; 20. Nineteen Eighty-Four; Part III. Critical Reception: 21. Starting out in the 1930s; 22. Critical controversy and popular success; 23. Posthumous fame; 24. 'Countdown' to 1-9-8-4; 25. Orwell in the twenty-first century; 26. An afterlife nonpareil; 27. 'If Orwell were alive today'; 28. A reputation evergreen; Select bibliography.