Animal Farm

Orwell, George

George Orwell, pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair, 1903–50, British novelist and essayist, b. Bengal, India. He is best remembered for his scathingly satirical and frighteningly political novels, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. After attending Eton, he served (1922–27) with the Indian imperial police in Burma (now Myanmar). He returned to Europe in 1927, living penuriously in Paris and later in London. In 1936 he fought with the Republicans in the Spanish civil war and was seriously wounded. His writings—particularly such early works as Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), Burmese Days (1934), The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), and Homage to Catalonia (1938)—are highly autobiographical.

Orwell was a keen critic of imperialism, fascism, Stalinism, and capitalism, all of which seemed to him forms of political oppression, and although he espoused a sort of socialism, he refused to be formally associated with any ideology or party label. His works are concerned with the sociopolitical conditions of his time, notably with the problem of human freedom. Animal Farm (1946) is a witty, satirical fable about the failure of Soviet-style Communism, and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) is a prophetic novel describing the dehumanization of humanity in a mechanistic, totalitarian world. Orwell's other novels include A Clergyman's Daughter (1935), Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936), and Coming Up for Air (1940). The master of a superbly lucid prose style, Orwell wrote many literary essays, which some critics find superior to his novels. His volumes of essays include Dickens, Dali and Others (1946), Shooting an Elephant (1950), and the Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (4 vol., 1968, repr. 2000).

See S. Orwell and I. Angus, ed., The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (4 vol., 1968, repr., 2000); P. Davison, ed., The Complete Works of George Orwell (20 vol., 1998), George Orwell: A Life in Letters (2010), and Diaries (2012); S. Orwell and I. Angus, ed., The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters (4 vol., 1968, repr. 2000); biographies by B. Crick (1980), M. Shelden (1991), J. Meyers (2000), G. Bowker (2003), and D. J. Taylor (2003); A. Coppard and B. Crick, ed., Orwell Remembered (1985); studies by J. Meyers, ed. (1975), R. Williams (1981), L. Hunter (1984), R. Alok (1989), J. Rodden (1989, repr. 2002), and C. Hitchens (2002).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Animal Farm: Selected full-text books and articles

Understanding Animal Farm: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents By John Rodden Greenwood Press, 1999
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
George Orwell's Animal Farm By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1999
Librarian's tip: This is a book of literary criticism
CliffsNotes, Animal Farm By Daniel Moran Wiley, 2001
Librarian's tip: This is the CliffsNotes on Animal Farm
George Orwell: The Critical Heritage By Jeffrey Meyers Routledge, 1997
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of Animal Farm in multiple chapters
Essays on Politics and Literature By Bernard Crick Edinburgh University Press, 1989
Not All Books Are Created Equal: Orwell & His Animals at Fifty By Byrne, Katharine Commonweal, Vol. 123, No. 10, May 17, 1996
Big Rock (Sugar) Candy Mountain? How George Orwell Tramped toward Animal Farm By Rodden, John Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 46, No. 3, Summer 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Appreciating Animal Farm in the New Millennium By Rodden, John Modern Age, Vol. 45, No. 1, Winter 2003
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