Friday 23 November 2018

Sorry Mr Orwell ...

Fifty Orwell Essays [linked table of contents]Perhaps it's a little unfair to award Orwell's collection of 50 essays a mere three out of five stars. Some of the essays are brilliant, but there are plenty that, on first reading, are just ok. For instance, it was difficult to properly enjoy his discussion of the merits of Helen's Babies, or James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution, since they mean nothing to me. I would have got more from the essay on Gulliver's Travels if I had actually read Swift's work, and my knowledge of Shakespeare's King Lear was found wanting in the reading of the essay about Tolstoy.

There are, however, absolute gems in this collection: extracts from The Road to Wigan Pier; The Lion and the Unicorn; Such, Such Were the Joys. His prose is to the point, he is not afraid to criticise injustice and speak out about totalitarianism and nationalism. The essays have provided some insight into the man, and I dare say, once I've corrected my own ignorance, I shall re-read the book and award it five stars.

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