George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of his holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.
London, 1936. Gordon Comstock has declared war on the money god; and Gordon is losing the war. Nearly 30 and ‘’ a poet whose one small book of verse has fallen ‘’ Gordon has given up a ‘’ job and gone to work in a bookshop at half his former salary. Always broke, but too proud to accept charity, he rarely sees his few friends and cannot get the virginal Rosemary to bed because (or so he believes), ‘’ On the windowsill of Gordon’s shabby rooming-house room is a sickly but unkillable aspidistra–a plant he abhors as the banner of the sort of ‘’ he is fleeing in his downward flight. Orwell’s darkly compassionate satire to which anyone who has ever been oppressed by the lack of brass, or by the need to make it, will all too easily relate. He etches the ugly insanity of what Gordon calls ‘’ in unflinching detail, but the satire has a second edge, too, and Gordon himself is scarcely heroic. In the course of his misadventures, we become grindingly aware that his radical solution to the problem of the money-world is no solution at all–that in his desperate reaction against a monstrous system, he has become something of a monster himself. Orwell keeps both of his edges sharp to the very end–a ‘’ ending that poses tough questions about just how happy it really is. That the book itself is not sour, but constantly fresh and frequently funny, is the result of Orwell’s steady, unsentimental attention to the telling detail; his dry, quiet humor; his fascination with both the follies and the excellences of his characters; and his courageous refusal to embrace the comforts of any easy answer.
Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, Burmese Days describes both indigenous corruption and Imperial bigotry, when ‘after all, natives were natives ? interesting, no doubt, but finally only a people, an inferior people with black faces’. Against the prevailing orthodoxy, Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Dr Veraswami, a black enthusiast for Empire. The doctor needs help. U Po Kyin, sub-divisional Magistrate of Kyauktada, is plotting his downfall. The only thing that can save him is European patronage: membership of the hitherto all-white Club. While Flory prevaricates, beautiful Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives in Upper Burma from Paris. At last, after years of ‘solitary hell’, romance and marriage appear to offer Flory an escape from the ‘lie’ of the ‘pukka sahib pose’.
Genre: Science, Education
Orwell’s moving reflections on the English character and his passionate belief in the need for political change. was written in London during the worst period of the blitz. It is vintage Orwell, a dynamic outline of his belief in socialism, patriotism and an English revolution. His fullest political statement, it has been described as ‘’ and is as relevant now as it ever has been.
Перед вами – иной Оруэлл. Не писатель, но – философ, литературный критик и журналист (строго говоря, создатель жанра «новой журналистики»). Человек, творящий подлинно высокую публицистику – и обращающий ее в истинное искусство слова!
Эссе Оруэлла всегда умные, изысканно-злые и в чем-то парадоксальные.
Сейчас, как и в прошлом, многим они кажутся спорными и «скандальными». Почему? Да потому, что Джордж Оруэлл всегда современен!
George Orwell’s payment book for 20 December 1943 records the sum of pounds 5.5.0 for a special article of 2,000 words for This has never been traced in under Orwell’s name but it now seems certain that an essay, entitled “Can Socialists Be Happy?” by “John Freeman” is what is referred to. The name Freeman would have appealed to Orwell as a pseudonym, and the article has many social, political and literary links with Orwell, such as the relation of Lenin to Dickens (the fact that Lenin read on his deathbed also appears in the second paragraph of Orwell’s 1939 essay, “Charles Dickens”). A “real” John Freeman, later editor of the New Statesman, has confirmed that he did not write the article. The reason why Orwell chose to write as “John Freeman” he never used this pseudonym again is not clear. It may be that did not want its literary editor to be seen to be associated with its political pages. Possibly it was a device that allowed Orwell to be paid a special fee. Or it may be that he simply wished to see how far would let him go with his opinions. In any case, the article appeared in the Christmas issue and provoked much debate in the issues that followed. The “lost essay” is included in the and printed here for the first time under Orwell’s name.