Down and Out in Paris and London

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9780786161478: Down and Out in Paris and London
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The "I" of this novel sets down the experiences of a man who finds himself in Paris, in the early 1930s, without a penny. He manages to keep alive and to record, with sensitivity and graphic power, the strange incidents and characters with which his poverty brings him in contact.

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What was a nice Eton boy like Eric Blair doing in scummy slums instead of being upwardly mobile at Oxford or Cambridge? Living Down and Out in Paris and London, repudiating respectable imperialist society, and reinventing himself as George Orwell. His 1933 debut book (ostensibly a novel, but overwhelmingly autobiographical) was rejected by that elitist publisher T.S. Eliot, perhaps because its close-up portrait of lowlife was too pungent for comfort.

In Paris, Orwell lived in verminous rooms and washed dishes at the overpriced "Hotel X," in a remarkably filthy, 110-degree kitchen. He met "eccentric people--people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad grooves of life and given up trying to be normal or decent." Though Orwell's tone is that of an outraged reformer, it's surprising how entertaining many of his adventures are: gnawing poverty only enlivens the imagination, and the wild characters he met often swindled each other and themselves. The wackiest tale involves a miser who ate cats, wore newspapers for underwear, invested 6,000 francs in cocaine, and hid it in a face-powder tin when the cops raided. They had to free him, because the apparently controlled substance turned out to be face powder instead of cocaine.

In London, Orwell studied begging with a crippled expert named Bozo, a great storyteller and philosopher. Orwell devotes a chapter to the fine points of London guttersnipe slang. Years later, he would put his lexical bent to work by inventing Newspeak, and draw on his down-and-out experience to evoke the plight of the Proles in 1984. Though marred by hints of unexamined anti-Semitism, Orwell's debut remains, as The Nation put it, "the most lucid portrait of poverty in the English language." --Tim Appelo

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George Orwell
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks (2007)
ISBN 10: 0786161477 ISBN 13: 9780786161478
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Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2007. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. Orwell s own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a penniless man living in Paris in the early 1930s. The narrator s poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only. A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society. Seller Inventory # AAS9780786161478

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George Orwell
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ISBN 10: 0786161477 ISBN 13: 9780786161478
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Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2007. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. Orwell s own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a penniless man living in Paris in the early 1930s. The narrator s poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only. A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society. Seller Inventory # AAS9780786161478

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George Orwell
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Book Description Blackstone Audio Inc., 2007. Audio CD. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110786161477

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