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George Orwell

Gordon Bowker



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05 July 2004
Biography: general; Literary studies: from c 1900 -; Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers; Sci-Fi Biographical
George Orwell was one of the greatest writers England produced in the last century. He left an enduring mark on our language and culture, with concepts such as 'Big Brother' and 'Room 101.' His reputation rests not only on his political shrewdness and his sharp satires (Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four) but also on his marvellously clear style and superb essays, which rank with the best ever written. Gordon Bowker's new biography, written to coincide with Orwell's centenary, includes fascinating new material which brings his life into unfamiliar focus. He writes revealingly about Orwell's family background; the lasting influence of Eton on his work and character; his superstitious streak and youthful flirtation with black magic; and his chaotic and reckless sex life, which included at least one homoerotic relationship. It highlights the strange circumstances of his first marriage and provides remarkable new evidence of his experiences in Spain and their nightmarish consequences. It also offers a fresh look at his peculiar deathbed marriage to a woman fifteen years his junior. All this has enabled Bowker to give Orwell's life a brilliantly fresh and distinctive interpretation.
By:   Gordon Bowker
Imprint:   Abacus
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   362g
ISBN:   9780349115511
ISBN 10:   0349115516
Pages:   512
Publication Date:   05 July 2004
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Gordon Bowker has written highly acclaimed biographies of Malcolm Lowry (a New York Times Recommended Book of the Year) and Lawrence Durrell, and articles and reviews for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

Reviews for George Orwell

George Orwell, one of the most significant literary icons of the 20th century, was, as Gordon Bowker says in this exceptionally detailed biography, a man haunted by nightmares: the guilt of childhood sin (he believed he had killed another boy through black magic while at Eton); the guilt of working as a high-handed repressive colonial during his years as a policeman in Burma; and the nightmare of rock-bottom poverty lived through in his first novel Down and Out in Paris and London. The best-known - and also the best - books, Animal Farm and 1984, are an odd mixture of high Tory values and fundamentalist Marxism. Like him or not, Orwell's is an endlessly fascinating character, and any readers who want to understand the complex man behind his strange and often marvellous books will have to read this biography, which though flawed in parts is a remarkable work of psychological insight and completely compelling to read. (Kirkus UK)

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