Orwell by D.J. Taylor Online

Orwell
Title : Orwell
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780805076936
Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496

Winner of the 2004 Whitbread Prize for Biography"D. J. Taylor has written not only the best recent biography of George Orwell . . . but also one of the cleverest studies of the relationship of that life to the written word." -The Washington Post Book World In the last fifty years, Animal Farm and 1984 have sold more than forty million copies, and "Orwellian" is now a byworWinner of the 2004 Whitbread Prize for Biography"D. J. Taylor has written not only the best recent biography of George Orwell . . . but also one of the cleverest studies of the relationship of that life to the written word." -The Washington Post Book World In the last fifty years, Animal Farm and 1984 have sold more than forty million copies, and "Orwellian" is now a byword for a particular way of thinking about life, literature, and language. D. J. Taylor's magisterial assessment cuts through George Orwell's iconic status to reveal a bitter critic who concealed a profound totalitarian streak and whose progress through the literary world of the 1930s and 1940s was characterized by the myths he built around himself.Drawing on previously unseen material, Orwell is a strikingly human portrait of the writer too often embalmed as a secular saint. This biography is as vibrant, powerful, and resonant as its extraordinary subject.


Orwell Reviews

  • Susan

    I have never read a biography of Eric Blair (renamed for his career as a writer as George Orwell) before and so was deeply interested to read this, although I am not completely sure that – having finished it – I know much more about this enigmatic author than I did before I started. This tells the story of a life, from childhood, through his schooldays and career in the Burma police, then on to his career as a writer, his time in Spain, his relationships and his legacy. Of course, Orwell him [...]

  • Nigeyb

    Having read all of George Orwell's novels, and some of his essays and articles, I was keen to read a biography. This is the only biography I have read to date.I previously enjoyed Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940, also by D.J. Taylor. Click here to read my review. In common with Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940, Orwell is thorough, well written and insightful.A chronological approach is augmented by shorter chapters. One interesting [...]

  • Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)

    A readable wide ranging biography of OrwellTaylor has his work cut out trying to put a readable account of Orwell’s life together. However, he does well telling the story from childhood, through his schooldays, career in the Burma police, writing career, Spain, as well as his relationships and legacy. The book does read at times like a novel especially where the author reconstructs whole episodes. This does leave the book open to criticism of fictionalising Orwell’s life, however I do think [...]

  • Haarlson Phillipps

    If you consider yourself a serious scholar of Orwell DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.If you are curious about Orwell, especially his time in Spain during the Civil War - DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.The book is riddled with inaccuracies, from simple errors to more subtle and deliberately misleading information which undermine Orwell's assessment of events during the Spanish Civil War.Simple error? Turn to page 135 - Orwell's poem On a Ruined Farm near His Master's Voice Gramophone Factory is incorrectly titled a [...]

  • Caterina

    George Orwell has always been a fascinating literary figure but I personally never knew much about his life apart from his political beliefs and his presence during the Spanish Civil War. The biography by D.J. Taylor sheds a light on many aspects of his tumultuous life; his upper-middle class upbringing, his studies at Eton ("on a scholarship", he always insisted to remind as a self-conscious Marxist!), the struggle to publish his works, his love affairs, his literary circle etc. This is a fairl [...]

  • Ayu Palar

    I am not a biography reader. But since I am a huge fan of Orwell, I feel the necessity to read his biography. I stumbled upon this book at QB, and immediately bought it. This is a must for all Orwell's fans. And who said biography is boring?

  • Robert DePriest

    I finished reading a biography of George Orwell (aka Eric Blair). I have to say I'm kind of disappointed in him. Before I knew much about him, I thought he was some sort of literary and philosophical genius - especially about political philosophy. However, after reading this biography, I'm not so sure. The book paints a picture of a very bright child from a respectable family earning scholarship to Eton, and beginning a solid career as an Imperial servant in Burma, who decides that he wants to b [...]

  • Palmyrah

    The moral of this story is that how happy or fulfilled you are has less to do with the incidents of your life than the temperament you were born with, or grew into. Orwell, as Taylor points out in a fine and unexpected chapter titled 'The Case Against', was a success in spite of himself, a man who actively and perversely courted failure all his life. He finally achieved his goal in the teeth of success, by dying just as the first fruits of wealth and fame were appearing on his plate.Orwell was c [...]

  • Val

    My first impression of this book was that it was commissioned and written to order, that the author did not have the true interest in the subject he claims. He is not a bad writer and the book is very readable, but it seems detached.Objectivity is not a bad quality for a biographer and Taylor does highlight some of the complexities and contradictions in George's (or Eric's) nature and writing. The idea of Orwell as complex and contradictory seems to be Taylor's main premise and the subject remai [...]

  • Edward

    IllustrationsAcknowledgements--Orwell: The LifeAfterwordAppendix I: Orwell and his publisherAppendix II: Dear Malcolm Yours GeorgeNotes and Further ReadingIndex

  • Daniel Elkin

    Very comprehensive. A little dry.

  • Dawnie

    I was interested in this book since I knew nothing about Orwell's life before reading this.And honestly? After reading it I don't know a whole lot more since j have no idea what really is true fact and what is something Taylor made up or interpretated.I do think that this book is a good start to Lear about Orwell and his life, it overs a nice overview, a good baseline of information and overview of orwells live from childhood to death.I would recommend this book for "hardcore fans" or people tha [...]

  • Earl

    Orwell: The Life by D. J. Taylor is a difficult book to summarize. It is written quite well and is well-researched, yet the presentation of the person of Orwell seemed uneven. At times I almost felt that this was an attempt to minimize Orwell's work, life and legacy. At other times I felt there was a more even-handed approach. Having said all that, I would still recommend the book because of its wealth of information. Perhaps one of its strong points is that those who have read and read of Orwel [...]

  • Andrewh

    This was a very well-written biography that clearly does not seek to unwrap the full enigma that was George Orwell but rather offers a vivid, impressionistic portrait of the wider arc of the man's life and the literary-political milieu in which he moved. Orwell was, it seems here, quite an odd fish - well-familied but not rich, he went to Eton then on to serve in the colonial police in Burma, where he grew to despise the Empire and then back to Britain to begin his vocation as a writer/novelist [...]

  • Christopher Brennan

    Taylor seems to have not read the same books I have. From Down and Out forward we see the horror of Imperialism, Colonialism, and Totalitarianism that are the hallmarks of Orwell's work. Taylor's claims about Orwell not becoming interested in politics until the Spanish Civil War seem to be drawn from a comment (which reads as an understatement) in Homage. Where he succeeds is in identifying some of the underlying traits which Orwell himself mythologized, such as in "Such Such Were the Joys," as [...]

  • Daniel Kukwa

    The author tries very, VERY hard to makes this a readable biographybut his subject matter certainly doesn't make it easy. If there is one thing to take from this life story, it is the fact that George Orwell was not an easy man to get along with; he was full of irritating, negative characteristics that ensured that people wouldn't want to spend a great deal of time with him. This bleeds into the biography, as DJ Taylor moves heaven and earth to make Orwell's story a fluid, easy read. But the man [...]

  • Craig

    This is an interesting, ultimately fair rendering of a sometimes wacky literary figure. Seeing the path that George Orwell/Eric Blair takes in building the political philosophy is interesting; even the formative basics of birth in British India to the upbringing in mainland England with his mother.For the casual biography reader, this book would make for tedious reading. I took a personal joy in reading this partly for the opportunities to see similarities between Orwell and characteristics of p [...]

  • Denis

    Reading a biography, you live someone's life in a matter of days; reading two, there's an anticipation of living it all over again, but no, this doesn't happen. This book is a commentary, the author provoking with his comments ("As a novelist, Orwell scarcely begins to exist" p350). In contrast, Peter Davison's "A Life in Letters" is a chronology, each letter a point in time.A life from up close and from afar; these two books complement each other.

  • John Rennie

    This is the first biography of Orwell I have read and as a big fan of his novels, reportage and essays I wasn't disappointed. This was a very nuanced study of the man, revealing the very human flaws in his personality without detracting from his essential decency and magnificent writing. highly recommended.

  • Marina Sofia

    I knew next to nothing about his personal life (other than his fighting in Spain) and I'm not sure it did me a favour to find out more. He was more than a little unpleasant, it appears, as well as terribly anxious, even slightly paranoid. However, the author does an excellent job of interpreting and elucidating aspects of Orwell's work.

  • Mandy

    A very good, very readable and very interesting biography of Orwell. Taylor doesn’t seem to have uncovered any new material, nor indeed come to any new conclusions about his subject, but he presents the reader with a portrait of Orwell that is balanced and perceptive, and I very much enjoyed it.

  • Scott

    No clue why I bought this. Loved his essays, was never a big fan of his books. Is it every man that begins to want to learn about other men's lives in minute detail when they reach their early thirties? George's was an interesting one.

  • Ddoyle90

    Very very detailed. More info than I needed or wanted.

  • Douglas

    A tremendous book giving a detailed analysis of Orwell's life and thinking.

  • Chris

    Brilliant, even as a model for how to make biography interesting: following different angles rather than only one. Highly recommneded, myself an old Orwell fan of some 45 years.

  • Edward Irons

    Don't miss this if you care about how the voice of totalitarianism's greatest critic was born.