Burmese Days

Burmese Days


Volume 2 of The Complete Works of George Orwell

Burmese Days was first published in the United States, by Harper & Brothers, in October 1934. It was Orwell's second book to be published and his first novel. It draws on his experiences serving in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma (some preliminary sketches survive on Government of Burma paper). he resigned from the Burma Police in autumn 1927 'because he disliked putting people into prison for doing the same things which he should have done in their circumstances'.

Orwell was convinced that publication of his novel in England would be impeded by the India Office because of his exposure of the evils of colonialism - his title, so appropriate to a volume of conventional memoirs, is subtly ironic - but his difficulties proved quite different. Victor Gollancz, though keen to publish Burmese Days, feared action for defamation and libel.

After modification, an English version was brought out in June 1935. Although at the time Orwell considered the changes required to be 'trifling', he later rejected the English edition as 'garbled'. However, as well as forced changes, it does include genuine authorial revisions, something which Orwell had forgotten.

About the author

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. His novels and non-fiction include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.
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