George Orwell is regarded as the greatest political writer in English of the twentieth century. The massive critical literature on Orwell has not only become extremely specialized, and therefore somewhat inaccessible to the nonscholar, but it has also attributed to and even created misconceptions about the man, the writer and his literary legacy. For these reasons, an overview of Orwell's writing and influence is an indispensable resource. Accordingly, this Companion serves as both an introduction to Orwell's work and furnishes numerous innovative interpretations and fresh critical perspectives on it. Throughout the Companion, which includes chapters dedicated to two of Orwell's major novels, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Orwell's work is placed within the context of the political and social climate of the time. His response to the Depression, British imperialism, Stalinism, World War II, and the politics of the British Left are also examined.
Notes on contributors Preface / John Rodden Chronology 1. A political writer / John Rossi and John Rodden 2. Orwell and the biographers / Gordon Bowker 3. Englands his Englands / Jonathan Rose 4. The truths of experience : Orwell's nonfiction of the 1930s / Margery Sabin 5. The fictional realist : novels of the 1930s / Michael Levenson 6. Orwell's essays as a literary experience / William E. Cain 7. 'My country, right or left' : Orwell's patriotism / John Rossi 8. Orwell and the British Left / Ian Williams 9. Orwell, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust / John Newsinger 10. Orwell, socialism and the Cold War / Robert Conquest 11. Animal farm : history as fable / Morris Dickstein 12. Nineteen eighty-four : context and controversy / Bernard Crick 13. Orwell, the academy and the intellectuals / Neil McLaughlin 14. Orwell for today's reader : an open letter / John Rodden 15. George Orwell : a bibliographic essay / Erika Gottlieb 16. Why Orwell still matters / Christopher Hitchens Further reading Index.