Orwell’s career as an essayist began with the publication of ‘A Farthing Newspaper’ in 1928 and ended with ‘Reflections on Gandhi’ almost exactly twenty years later. He began as an unknown writer on the brink of poverty and ended as a literary figure known and respected throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. These twenty years saw the depression, massive unemployment, the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, post-war reconstruction and the dawn of the nuclear age. His themes embraced not only these momentous issues but hop-picking, boys’ comics, seaside postcards, English cooking, precise directions for making a cup of tea, murders, and the mating habits of the toad. He wrote extensively on political, social and literary topics and was also a prolific book reviewer. In all he wrote some 100 essays, 70 book reviews and 72 contributions to ‘As I Please’ in Tribune. In the process his style matured from the diffident (but still recognisably Orwellian) tone of the early essays to the polished, self-assured, incisive manner which has made his name a hallmark for all that is finest in modern English letters.
KeywordsDepression Pneumonia Rubber Income Gravel
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