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Orwell: The Authorized Biography

Shelden, Michael

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ISBN 10: 0060167092 / ISBN 13: 9780060167097
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, 1991
Hardcover
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x, [2], 497 p. Illustrations. Books by George Orwell. Sources, Abbreviations, and Notes. Select Bibliography. Index. From Wikipedia: "Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 21 January 1950), known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices has entered the language together with several of his neologisms, including Cold War, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Big Brother and thought police.During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism, in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage: Down and Out in Paris and London (describing a period of poverty in these cities), The Road to Wigan Pier (describing the living conditions of the poor in northern England, and the class divide generally) and Homage to Catalonia. According to Irving Howe, Orwell was "the best English essayist since Hazlitt, perhaps since Dr Johnson."[95] Modern readers are more often introduced to Orwell as a novelist, particularly through his enormously successful titles Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The former is often thought to reflect degeneration in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism; the latter, life under totalitarian rule. Nineteen Eighty-Four is often compared to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; both are powerful dystopian novels warning of a future world where the state machine exerts complete control over social life. In 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 were honoured with the Prometheus Award for their contributions to dystopian literature. In 2011 he received it again for Animal Farm. Coming Up for Air, his last novel before World War II is the most "English" of his novels; alarums of war mingle with images of idyllic Thames-side Edwardian childhood of protagonist George Bowling. The novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of Old England, and there were great, new external threats. In homely terms, Bowling posits the totalitarian hypotheses of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler: "Old Hitler's something different. So's Joe Stalin. They aren't like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it.They're something quite new something that's never been heard of before". Also from Wikipedia: "Michael Shelden (born 1951)[1] is an American biographer and teacher, notable for his authorized biography of George Orwell, his history of Cyril Connolly s Horizon magazine, his controversial biography of Graham Greene, and his study of the last years of Mark Twain, Man in White. His next book, Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill will be published in March 2013.Shelden s first book, George Orwell: Ten Animal Farm Letters to His Agent, Leonard Moore (1984), was an edited collection drawn from letters Shelden found at the Lilly Library and was the first to publicize. In 1989 he published his literary history Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of Horizon, which covered the decade. Bookseller Inventory # 67005

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Orwell: The Authorized Biography

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Traces Orwell's life and career, describing his school days, his experiences in the Spanish Civil War and as a police superintendent in Burma, the development of his writing, and his place in literary history

About the Author:

MICHAEL SHELDEN spent twelve years as a feature writer for the Daily Telegraph in London and as a fiction critic for the Baltimore Sun. He has written several biographies, including Orwell, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. He is currently a professor of English at Indiana State University.

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