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Narrative Essays

Narrative Essays


George Orwell was first and foremost an essayist. From his earliest published article in 1928 to his untimely death in 1950, he produced an extraordinary array of short non-fiction that reflected - and illuminated - the fraught times in which he lived and wrote. 'As soon as he began to write something,' comments George Packer in his foreword to this new two-volume collection, 'it was as natural for Orwell to propose, generalize, qualify, argue, judge - in short, to think - as it was for Yeats to versify or Dickens to invent.'

This collection charts Orwell's development as a master of the narrative-essay form and unites classics such as 'Shooting an Elephant' with lesser-known journalism and passages from his wartime diary. Whether detailing the horrors of Orwell's boyhood in an English boarding school or bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the Spanish Civil War, these narrative essays weave together the personal and the political in an unmistakable style that is at once plain-spoken and brilliantly complex.


  • Orwell continues to be the benchmark for all would-be essayists because he achieved a perfect balance of clarity of prose and originality of insight. Consequently, he's marvellously readable, an effect he achieved without sacrificing a scrap of his fierce, wintry intelligence. There can be few writers who are as delightful discussing the class system as they are the common toad; Orwell was one of them
    Colin Waters, Sunday Herald

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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