By D. J. Taylor
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805074734, 480pp.)
Publication Date: September 2003
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At last, a fresh, comprehensive biography of the twentieth century's most emblematic writer
In the last fifty years, Animal Farm and 1984 have sold over 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. But whether as reluctant servant of the Raj in 1920s Burma, mock down-and-outer in Paris and London, or Spanish Civil War soldier, the circumstances of his life are sharply at odds with the image Orwell so effectively stage-managed.
Drawing on previously unseen material, Orwell is a strikingly human portrait of the writer too often embalmed as a secular saint. This is the biography we have been waiting for-as vibrant, powerful, and resonant as its extraordinary subject.
D. J. Taylor's acclaimed biography, Thackeray , was selected as a "book of the year" by Victoria Glendinning and A. N. Wilson. Taylor lives in Norwich, England.