Orwell by D. J. Taylor
The Life

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At last, a fresh, comprehensive biography of the twentieth century's most emblematic writer

In the last fifty years, Animal Farm and 1984 have sold over forty million copies, and "Orwellian" is now a byword for a particular way of thinking about life, literature, and language. D. J. Taylor's magisterial assessment cuts through George Orwell's iconic status to reveal a bitter critic who concealed a profound totalitarian streak and whose progress through the literary world of the 1930s and 1940s was characterized by the myths he built around himself. But whether as reluctant servant of the Raj in 1920s Burma, mock down-and-outer in Paris and London, or Spanish Civil War soldier, the circumstances of his life are sharply at odds with the image Orwell so effectively stage-managed.

Drawing on previously unseen material, Orwell is a strikingly human portrait of the writer too often embalmed as a secular saint. This is the biography we have been waiting for-as vibrant, powerful, and resonant as its extraordinary subject.

About D. J. Taylor

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D. J. Taylor's acclaimed biography, Thackeray , was selected as a "book of the year" by Victoria Glendinning and A. N. Wilson. Taylor lives in Norwich, England.
Published September 3, 2003 by Henry Holt and Co.. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Orwell

The Guardian

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Simultaneously, the Buswell Memorial Library's collection yielded up another intriguing item: a letter from Orwell, dated June 21 1945, to the editor of the Glasgow-based Million magazine, complaining about an article entitled "George Orwell and Our Time".

Feb 21 2004 | Read Full Review of Orwell: The Life

The Guardian

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Orwell DJ Taylor 448pp, Chatto & Windus, £20 George Orwell Gordon Bowker 512pp, Little, Brown, £20 George Orwell's reputation has been marred by the sound of biographical clocks striking 13, yet his crystal spirit remains un-dimmed.

Jun 07 2003 | Read Full Review of Orwell: The Life

The Guardian

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Orwell: The Life by DJ Taylor Chatto & Windus £20, pp448 George Orwell by Gordon Bowker Little, Brown £20, pp495 Hailed by the Right all over the world, George Orwell made an indelible contribution to the Left.

Jun 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Orwell: The Life

Publishers Weekly

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Taylor, author of an earlier biography of Thackeray, limns Orwell's life graphically, and relates his early fiction and journalism persuasively to the iconic postwar novels, describing his writing as "an endless scroll constantly refined and brought up to date, in which early entries reemerge to ...

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London Review of Books

Yet the relations in Williams’s own study of Orwell between evasive abstraction and political ambiguity illustrate the connections between language and integrity which Orwell identified, and which run a good deal deeper than mere ‘frankness’.

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The New York Review of Books

So there it was at last, the copy of George Orwell’s notorious list of “crypto-communists” that went into the files of a semisecret department of the Foreign Office on May 4, 1949.

Sep 25 2003 | Read Full Review of Orwell: The Life

Socialist Review

Christopher Hitchens led the way last year with his Orwell's Victory and so far this year we have had DJ Taylor's Orwell: the Life, Scott Lucas's Orwell and Gorden Bowker's George Orwell.

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