Diaries

George Orwell, Peter Davison (ed.)

Diaries

George Orwell was an inveterate keeper of diaries. Eleven diaries are presented here, and we know there may be two more from his time in Spain hidden away in the NKVD Archives in Moscow. Covering the period 1931-1949, this volume follows Orwell from his early years as a writer up to his last literary notebook. His "Hop-Picking Diary" covers some of Orwell's time spent down and out; the notes from his travels through industrial England, which formed the basis of "The Road to Wigan Pier", show the development of the gifted young novelist and impassioned social commentator. His domestic diaries chart the progress of his garden and animals with a keen eye, from the succinct, 'Pig active again'. to the more poetic, 'One of the plants that carries the snow most beautifully is lavender.' The wartime diaries make fascinating reading, from descriptions of events overseas, to the daily violence closer to home and his astute perspective on the politics of both. Orwell offers a different take on the typical view of the home front. 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
Diaries

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Essays, Journals & Letters
Format Hardback
Pages 528
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication September 2009
ISBN 978-1846553295
Publisher Harvill Secker
 

George Orwell was an inveterate keeper of diaries. Eleven diaries are presented here, and we know there may be two more from his time in Spain hidden away in the NKVD Archives in Moscow. Covering the period 1931-1949, this volume follows Orwell from his early years as a writer up to his last literary notebook. His "Hop-Picking Diary" covers some of Orwell's time spent down and out; the notes from his travels through industrial England, which formed the basis of "The Road to Wigan Pier", show the development of the gifted young novelist and impassioned social commentator. His domestic diaries chart the progress of his garden and animals with a keen eye, from the succinct, 'Pig active again'. to the more poetic, 'One of the plants that carries the snow most beautifully is lavender.' The wartime diaries make fascinating reading, from descriptions of events overseas, to the daily violence closer to home and his astute perspective on the politics of both. Orwell offers a different take on the typical view of the home front.

Reviews

The Literary Review

Jonathan Derbyshire

[A] scrupulously edited and handsomely produced edition... the most significant difference between the diaries of 1931 and those of 1936 is the emergence of a voice that is recognisably Orwell’s – and this has much to do with the solidifying of his political convictions. Orwell’s prose develops a polemical edge, deployed as often against what had become his own side, the political left, as it is against the horrors of unemployment and the complacencies of the class system.

01/11/2009

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The Times

Iain Finlayson

There is a Domestic Diary that bookends the War-time Diary and both have received equally scrupulous attention from the editor, Peter Davison. It is difficult to know which is the more interesting: the War-time Diary is the more dramatic; but whether in Morocco or on his allotment in Hertfordshire, Orwell was interested in the lives of ordinary people, in politics at ground level. He comes across as a man of feeling in his engagement with Man and Nature.

19/09/2009

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