George Orwell the Essayist
Literature, Politics and the Periodical CultureBook - 2011
George Orwell is acclaimed as one of English literature's great essayists. Yet, while many are considered classics, as abody of work his essays have been neglected. Peter Marks provides the firstsustained study of Orwell the essayist, giving these compelling pieces thecritical attention they merit.
Orwell employed the essay as a tool to entertain, illuminate andprovoke readers across an array of topics. Marks situates the essays in theiroriginal contexts, exploring how journals influenced the type of essay Orwellwrote. Acknowledging this periodical culture helps explain the tactics Orwellemployed, the topics he chose and the audiences he addressed. Orwell's firstand last published works were essays, providing evidence of the development ofhis cultural and political views over two decades. Essays helped him fashion his distinctiveliterary 'voice' and Mark traces how their afterlife contributes to Orwell'sposthumous reputation. Arguing the essays are central to Orwell's enduringliterary, political and cultural value, Marks shows how we understand thecomplexities, subtleties, and contradictions of Orwell better when weunderstand his essays.