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Burmese Days
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Burmese Days [Format Kindle]

George Orwell , Emma Larkin
4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Imagine crossing E.M. Forster with Jane Austen. Stir in a bit of socialist doctrine, a sprig of satire, strong Indian curry, and a couple quarts of good English gin and you get something close to the flavor of George Orwell's intensely readable and deftly plotted Burmese Days. In 1930, Kyauktada, Upper Burma, is one of the least auspicious postings in the ailing British Empire--and then the order comes that the European Club, previously for whites only, must elect one token native member. This edict brings out the worst in this woefully enclosed society, not to mention among the natives who would become the One. Orwell mines his own Anglo-Indian background to evoke both the suffocating heat and the stifling pettiness that are the central facts of colonial life: "Mr. MacGregor told his anecdote about Prome, which could be produced in almost any context. And then the conversation veered back to the old, never-palling subject--the insolence of the natives, the supineness of the Government, the dear dead days when the British Raj was the Raj and please give the bearer fifteen lashes. The topic was never let alone for long, partly because of Ellis's obsession. Besides, you could forgive the Europeans a great deal of their bitterness. Living and working among Orientals would try the temper of a saint."

Protagonist James Flory is a timber merchant, whose facial birthmark serves as an outward expression of the ironic and left-leaning habits of mind that make him inwardly different from his coevals. Flory appreciates the local culture, has native allegiances, and detests the racist machinations of his fellow Club members. Alas, he doesn't always possess the moral courage, or the energy, to stand against them. His almost embarrassingly Anglophile friend, Dr. Veraswami, the highest-ranking native official, seems a shoo-in for Club membership, until Machiavellian magistrate U Po Kyin launches a campaign to discredit him that results, ultimately, in the loss not just of reputations but of lives. Whether to endorse Veraswami or to betray him becomes a kind of litmus test of Flory's character.

Against this backdrop of politics and ethics, Orwell throws the shadow of romance. The arrival of the bobbed blonde, marriageable, and resolutely anti-intellectual Elizabeth Lackersteen not only casts Flory as hapless suitor but gives Orwell the chance to show that he's as astute a reporter of nuanced social interactions as he is of political intrigues. In fact, his combination of an astringently populist sensibility, dead-on observations of human behavior, formidable conjuring skills, and no-frills prose make for historical fiction that stands triumphantly outside of time. --Joyce Thompson

Présentation de l'éditeur

Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, Burmese Days describes both indigenous corruption and Imperial bigotry, when 'after all, natives were natives - interesting, no doubt, but finally only a "subject" people, an inferior people with black faces'. Against the prevailing orthodoxy, Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Dr Veraswami, a black enthusiast for Empire. The doctor needs help. U Po Kyin, Sub- divisional Magistrate of Kyauktada, is plotting his downfall. The only thing that can save him is European patronage: membership of the hitherto all-white Club. While Flory prevaricates, beautiful Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives in Upper Burma from Paris. At last, after years of 'solitary hell', romance and marriage appear to offer Flory an escape from the 'lie' of the 'pukka sahib pose'.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 563 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 320 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin; Édition : Re-issue (4 juin 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°70.251 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

George Orwell (de son vrai nom Eric Blair) est né aux Indes en 1903 et a fait ses études à Eton. Sa carrière est très variée et beaucoup de ses écrits sont un rappel de ses expériences. De 1922 à 1928 il sert dans la police indienne impériale. Pendant les deux années suivantes il vit à Paris puis part pour l'Angleterre comme professeur. En 1937 il va en Espagne combattre dans les rangs républicains et y est blessé. Pendant la guerre mondiale il travaille pour la B.B.C., puis est attaché, comme correspondant spécial en France et en Allemagne, à l'Observer. Il meurt à Londres en janvier 1950.

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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 L'empire est moribond 9 septembre 2012
Par Palamède
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Voici un excellent livre pour comprendre comment l'impasse du colonialisme se faisait jour dans les année 30.
Burmese Days est un roman semi-autobiographique dans lequel Orwell suit la destinée de Flory, son alter-ego fictionnel ou plutôt le fantôme d'homme qu'il serait devenu s'il était resté sergent dans la police impériale en Birmanie, au lieu de rentrer en Europe en 1927. Ce livre implacable est à la fois la description d'un monde désenchanté, une satire exempte de toute hypocrisie ou facilité et un rejet des modes de narration traditionnelle, avec une titillation directe mais subtile de la mauvaise conscience du lecteur et de l'auteur lui-même.
Porteur d'un pessimisme féroce, le style est en parfaite harmonie avec le propos, tantôt héritier de la satire swiftienne, tantôt inspiré par un lyrisme désespéré qui manifeste bien le foi d'Orwell en la langue et l'écriture, premier rempart contre la nécrose idéologique.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Birmanie 13 février 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
George Orwell retrace une vision plutôt acerbe de l’occupation des Britanniques en Birmanie ainsi que des travers humains. Belle histoire et belle écriture.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  174 commentaires
91 internautes sur 99 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Pox Britannica 1 juillet 2008
Par H. Schneider - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
With his very first novel, Orwell earned an honorable position on the crowded shelves of Raj Lit. It was a kind of self-liberation, so he could drop the subject henceforth.
He had spent 5 years in Burma as a police officer. Why had he done that? His family was of the shabby genteel class, and his father's pension from the imperial service in India was barely enough to carry him through school. So he skipped university and did what the people in his novel do: sign up for the colonies in the hope of reasonable wealth and career.
When he quit after 5 years, he had some explaining to do. He did it with this novel.
Most first novels are autobiographic to some extent, but Orwell did something different: he figured out what he himself would have become had he stayed. His 'hero' Flory is an alter ego under the hypothical assumption of having stayed for 15 years instead of quitting after 5.
Flory has a different job, but that doesn't matter much. He is a deeply lonely and frustrated man without prospects. He is disgusted with himself and with his social crowd, the sahiblog, who enforce conformism in the most primitive way. They are generally a disgusting group of people.
Flory meets a young woman who seems the answer to his loneliness problem. For her, he might be the solution to her problem, which is the expectation of spinsterhood in poverty. They misunderstand each other thouroughly and make a huge mess of it.
The personal tragedy of Flory is framed by stories of imperial intrigues, by local officials playing Machiavelli and by the sahibs sinking into delirium tremens.
I read it first when I was working and living in other parts of the by then former Raj. I think everything would have been different if the poorpeople, the sahiblog, had had airconditioning. They might have been able to use their brains more.
32 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Really want to know the Burmese mind??? 11 novembre 2000
Par John Pierce - Publié sur
I have to admit to being a huge Orwell fan and having lived in Burma for several years (and having visited the location of the story in "Burmese Days" (Katha), I believe this book presents one of the most accurate representations of the Burmese character and of the relationship (that was) between the Burmese (as opposed to the Karen, the Chin and other minorities). Anyone who desires to understand Burma, its people and its government (Aung San, Ne Win to the present SPDC) should read this book. It is a masterful work that remains important for several reasons.
30 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "...the sun glared in the sky like an angry god, then suddenly the monsoon blew westward..." 23 août 2007
Par Douglas S. Wood - Publié sur
'Burmese Days', George Orwell's first novel, was based on his five years' experience as a member of the British Indian Imperial military police in Burma, which was part of British India at the time (1922-27) and remained so until 1937. Orwell was born in Bengal British India where his father worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service.

Orwell sets his rather sordid tale in a remote station of Kyauktada in Upper Burma.

Through Orwell's considerable literary skills the reader feels the heat and rains: "...from February through May the sun glared in the sky like an angry god, then suddenly the monsoon blew westward, first in sharp squalls, then in a heavy ceaseless downpour that drenched everything until neither one's clothes, one's bed, nor even one's food ever seemed to be dry. It was still hot, with a stuffy vaporous heat. The jungle paths turned to morasses, and the paddy fields were great wastes of stagnant water with a stale mousy smell...Through July and August there was hardly a pause in the rain."

Fictional Kyauktada station consists of eight whites in the midst of thousands of Burmese. Eight whites holding on to their cribbed vision of civilization with a social life centered around a cheap whites-only club and the once-every-six-weeks visit of the Anglican priest. Although he changed the names, Orwell's characters were based on real people he encountered. The corrosive affect of colonial rule takes a toll on everyone involved, British and Burmese alike. The Anglo Indians generally display racist attitudes that ranged from an accepted sense of one's own 'natural' superiority to raging hate. The Burmese are nearly as repugnant as they scrape and bow to curry favor with grater and lesser degrees of sincerity. The protagonist Flory is the only partial exception, but his maddening equivocation ultimately leads to dire results. Several of the British sink into booze to put away the malaise.

Orwell had difficulty getting 'Burmese Days' published partially out of fear that it would anger supporters of the British Empire (especially Anglo Indians) and also fear of libel suits. After reading Burmese Days you will agree that these reactions would not have been surprising. No one comes off looking very good, British or Burmese, but least of all the British Empire. Was it really as bad as Orwell portrays? Perhaps it was, after all Kyauktada was far from a plum assignment. In any event Orwell's `Burmese Days' portrayal is closer to the mark than any romanticized renderings.

Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the Asian subcontinent.
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 71 years old and still strong 25 décembre 2005
Par Loves the View - Publié sur
I came to this through Emma Larkin's "Finding George Orwell in Burma". She cites it as part of a perpetually banned in Burma Orwell trilogy (along with "Animal Farm" and "1984") that Burmese with the courage to squirel away copies, think, and discuss, cherish. They see these three books as the history of their country.

It's a remarkable first novel. It still holds up and probably will for more generations because it has so much meaning.

Last year I read Orwell's essay "Shooting an Elephant" about the pressure on a young British police officer to be what both the Empire and its subjects demand. In "Burmese Days" he casts a wider net on how colonialism harms and can ultimately destroy, not only those colonized, but also those enlisted to carry out the goals of the empire.

This novel is set the remotest of outposts, so undesireable that it attracts the most undesireable cast of expats. There is no fully redeeming named character here, neither British nor Burmese.

The story centers on Flory who has humane qualities (such as respect for the Burmese as a people which is highly ununual among the expats), but his lack of confidence and his alcohol problem prevent his action most times. In his loneliness he falls in love with someone with whom he will never be able to converse... and he is desperate for a friend. The story is not about his romance, which provides heavy emotional drama, but about the situation in which a culture with superior furniture, (the Burmese are awed by imported chairs), clothes, medicine, weapons, etc. imposes itself on a poor population without any means to hold itself together in the face of an outside force with seemingly unlimited resourses.

How would Ellis, the Lackersteens, Verrall and Macggregor have fared if they had stayed in England? Would they be kicking their servants/employees (if they were to have them)? or tolerating others doing it in their circle? How would they feel about confiscating property of others? Blinding teenagers? Shooting into crowds on Picadilly Square? Are these Britons different from their contemporaries in Germany avoiding witness to, indirectly/directly abetting or actively forcing Jews to camps?

Orwell describes a situation which poses but does not answer big questions. What is humanity? Is ethical, or even "normal" behavior situational? Is it easier for the negative to inspire than the positive? The provoking of these questions, and the way in which Orwell provokes them, guarantees that this novel will continue to be read 71 years from now.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A vivid picture of the British occupation of Burma 13 septembre 1998
Par - Publié sur
(For background info, please read the review first...)
I was fascinated by this novel and thought it well-written. It is ultimately a cynical novel, yet the experiences detailed in the novel are devastating and could easily lead a decent person to utter despair... British colonialism seems to be bottomless; as if there is no continent that hasn't been contaminated by it. Although it is now a thing of the past, learning about it still has the power to chill, by its utter cruelty, indiffence and arrogance.
The setting is all-important, and I kept thinking as I read, this would make a really good movie. But by the time, I got to the end, I realized why it hadn't: the grotesqueness of the characters, predominantly British traders, merchants and soldiers who are stationed in the middle of nowhere, in a tropical nightmare. This novel is not politically correct: the Burmese are not spared. They are as ignorant, corrupt and cowardly as the Brits who sit around drinking and cursing them. And the Brits range from snobbish, pathetic and weak to vicious, violent and bigoted. The one Brit with insight is riddled with fear, self-loathing and cowardice. There are no heroes here. British colonialism in Burma has seemingly brought out the worst in everyone. The ending is shocking, but ulimately quite reasonable. If you have any doubts about the amorality of colonial occupation, you must read this.
"There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief, there's too much confusion, can't get no relief..."
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Why, of course, the lie that were here to uplift our poor black brothers instead of to rob them. I suppose its a natural enough lie. But it corrupts us, it corrupts us in ways you cant imagine. Theres an everlasting sense of being a sneak and a liar that torments us and drives us to justify ourselves night and day. Its at the bottom of half our beastliness to the natives. We Anglo-Indians could be almost bearable if wed only admit that were thieves and go on thieving without any humbug. &quote;
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You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for yourself. &quote;
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Painting is the only art that can be practised without either talent or hard work. &quote;
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