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The Orwell Diaries
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The Orwell Diaries [Format Kindle]

George Orwell

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"All the diaries of Orwell that are still extant were first published in 1998 by Peter Davison and included in his monumental edition of The Complete Works of George Orwell. They are now conveniently regrouped here in one volume, excellently presented and annotated by Davision" (Simon Leys New York Review)

Présentation de l'éditeur

George Orwell was an inveterate keeper of diaries. The Orwell Diaries presents eleven of them, covering the period 1931-1949, and follows Orwell from his early years as a writer to his last literary notebook. An entry from 1931 tells of a communal shave in the Trafalgar Square fountains, while notes from his travels through industrial England show the development of the impassioned social commentator.

This same acute power of observation is evident in his diaries from Morocco, as well as at home, where his domestic diaries chart the progress of his garden and animals with a keen eye; the wartime diaries, from descriptions of events overseas to the daily violence closer to home, describe astutely his perspective on the politics of both, and provide a new and entirely refreshing insight into Orwell's character and his great works.

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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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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Here Lies Eric Arthur Blair 31 août 2012
Par Christian Schlect - Publié sur
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Those who appreciate the novels, reviews, and essays of George Orwell will enjoy reading this book, which is enriched by the informed and professional editing of Peter Davison.

Mr. Orwell, an English socialist, hated tyranny and political lies. His prose was pure and based on his own honest, penetrating observations.

The various diaries are split between his wartime experiences and his personal time, mostly gardening. This last word may be to gentle for describing the arduous efforts he expended near the end of his life in exacting a living while on the remote and hard island of Jura. His fine eye toward the natural world of birds, berries, onions, trees, chickens and fish was precise and generous but unromantic.

George Orwell was a wonderful writer and political observer who died in 1950, before reaching his rightful old age.

(While not in the same elite literary class as Mr. Orwell, the foreword to this book by Christopher Hitchens reminds one of another fine writer on politics who died too young.)

Those who have not read much of Mr. Orwell's literature, beyond "Animal Farm" or "1984", should read "The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell" (4 Volumes) as edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus. Or, based on this effort, any book edited by Peter Davison.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Still trying to flower." Orwell's Writings Completed 8 octobre 2012
Par David R. Anderson - Publié sur
George Orwell (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950) lived a short life. But from the time he first put pen to paper, he wrote virtually every day, or so it seems. He wrote the novels, essays, poems, criticism, political commentary and literary notebooks that fill the twenty volumes of his Complete Works (Secker & Warburg, 1998). And he kept diaries off and on, eleven all told, from 1931 to 1949. This new book, masterfully compiled and edited by Peter Davidson, who also edited the "Complete Works", contains them all.

The first diary records his experience as a field hand harvesting hops in October 1931. This was hard, weather-dependent work that barely paid the pickers enough to keep body and soul together. Three years later, on a similar quest, he spent February and March in Wigan, Yorkshire, and other coal mining towns. His diary records the unrelenting misery and hardship the miners and their families endured and provided the raw material for his novel, "The Road to Wigan Pier." Of the other diaries, five volumes are grouped around Orwell's life as a townsman and family farmer, the so-called "Domestic" diaries. Another three deal with life in London before and during the early years of World War II.

The stark difference between the quality of life described in the peacetime and wartime diaries adds dramatically to the interest of both groups. Orwell's clear-headed account of the dystopian character of English life during the war reveals how totally the props were knocked out from under what had been a relatively well-ordered, if class driven, civil society. With the approach of the war and its advent, trust was replaced with doubt, if not scorn; the need to sacrifice gave way to hoarding; the efforts to mobilize the Home Front security force, farcical; likewise the operations of the BBC where Orwell was employed in the early years; gainsaying at every level of society became endemic; second guessing of the strategy for conducting the war and establishing the alliances to confront the Axis never ending. Churchill, almost alone among the country's leaders, earned Orwell' sustained praise.

Now turn to the domestic diaries. Here is the Orwell we hardly know. Self-sufficient, as capable with hoe and hammer as with pen and typewriter. He was a remarkably resourceful husbandman, with all the traits needed to be an able and productive small farmer. He knew and was governed by the seasons of his crops and barn yard animals and those of the fish and game that he took with skill and satisfaction. When he moved from London to his country places in Wellington, Southwold, and, during the last few years of his life, at Barnhill on the Isle of Jura in Scotland, he turned his attention, during the hours he was not at his typewriter, to the sowing, raising and the harvest of his crops and to the countless details that go in to operating a farm.

Significantly, none of the diaries reveal much about Orwell's emotional life. There is enough to suggest, if not to show, his love for his wife and the son they adopted in 1944, just months before she died on the operating table. What does emerge is the account of a man so comfortable in his own skin, so confident in is ability to handle life as it came, that he could use the diaries primarily as a register of the life of the farm, to keep a tally of the eggs produced and the berries picked and the fish taken from the nearby sea. True to form, his last diary entry, on Christmas Eve 1948, concludes: "Snowdrops up all over the place. A few tulips showing. Some wall flowers still trying to flower."
It is fair to say that today, more than 62 years after his death, Orwell's works are "up all over the place" and rarely have we needed them more.

End note. See, for example,the late Christopher Hitchens' 2002 assessment, "Why Orwell Matters" (Basic Books). Hitchens (whose last commissioned piece before his death is the introduction to the "Diaries") states that Orwell "showed how much can be accomplished by an individual who united the qualities of intellectual honesty and moral courage." ( From the Introduction). And may I recommend another book, "A Country Year, Living the Questions", by Sue Hubbell (Random House, 1986). Hubbell's book about her life as a bee keeper in the Ozarks displays her powers to observe, record and take heart in the natural world of her domain, much as Orwell's diaries from the years in Jura do for their author.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 This is an important piece of the Orwell oeuvre 1 mars 2013
Par Noovella - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I’m a huge George Orwell fan. Down and Out in Paris and London and 1984 are two entirely different but amazing works for art, and you’ll find a little of both in his diaries.

The book begins with a fine introduction by the late Christopher Hitchens: “By declining to lie, even as far as possible to himself, and by his determination to seek elusive but verifiable truth, he showed how much can be accomplished by an individual who unites the qualities of intellectual honesty and moral courage.”

You’ll find some of the most perceptive examinations on poverty in 1930s England as Orwell goes undercover as a day laborer working in the fields and orchards picking hops and fruit. His writing talent is well served by his acute observation as well as an open nonjudgemental attitude toward everyone and everything he comes across.

“As to our living accommodation, the best quarters on the farm, ironically enough, were disused stables. Most of us sleep in round tin huts about 10 feed across, with no glass in the windows and all kinds of holes to let in the wind and rain.”

His love for animals, nature and farming is abundantly noted in his journals. There are large sections musing on daily gardening, hens laying eggs, goat’s milk…. One of his goat’s is named Muriel, just like in Animal Farm. He loved to fish. He also gives us a daily weather report. This can be a bit tedious, but it gives us a excellent sense of a man rooted in real things such as the earth or, e.g., the impact of a storm.

The Morocco diaries capture the flavor, politics, animals, and people at that time.“…there is an obvious great difference in the water supply between peasant’s plots and the plantations of Europeans and wealthy Arabs. The difficulty of water makes an immense amount of work.”

My favorite section was his World War II diaries; they show Orwell the patriot and political activist. He is eager to help in any way he can, and he served in the Home Guard and eventually as a BBC propaganda correspondent in England’s efforts in India.

He shows the psychological effects of constant air raids as well as the physical damage in or around London. And the resilience of the English who go about their daily routine despite the bombardments. These are the early days of the war, and we see the confusion and fluid nature of attitudes and the concern that England would be overrun and could possibly lose the war. He saw through all hypocrites, particularly the rich or “patriots.”

“[I]t struck me how easy it is to bamboozle an uneducated audience if you have prepared beforehand a set of repartees with which to evade awkward questions.”

He criticized and praised Churchill and called other politicians imbeciles and explained why their current strategy would likely lose the war. “C said he thought Churchhill, though a good man up to a point, was incapable of doing the necessary thing and turning this into a revolutionary war, and for that reason shielded Chamberlain and Co.”

Like his novels and essays, his diaries would have fit nicely into current American polltics in 2013. Here is a comment he made about the upper classes: “Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist.”

It is disappointing that we do not find much on his personal relations to anyone close to him, or little about his literary life.

He is brave until the end, but it is painful to know he is near death while finishing 1984 at the young age of forty-six. A voice like his does not come along very often. This is an important piece of the Orwell oeuvre.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The diaries of George Orwell cast new light on the life of the famous author of "Animal Farm" and "1984" 30 septembre 2012
Par C. M Mills - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
There has been a great deal of literary hoopla around the recent publichation of the diaries of George Orwell on both sides of the pond. Deservedly so! Orwell (real name was Eric Arthur Blair) is a modern prophet. His targets are:
a. The rule of totalitarianism-eg.. "Animal Farm" is a classic fable of life in a communist society.
b. The destructive power of propaganda as a tool in the arsenal of governments who wish to retain power and control over society.
c. A hatred of the stultified British class system.
d. Orwell believed in speaking truth to power. His is a strong voice for democracy and freedom being exercised by the individual.
Orwell was born in India in 19-3 but grew up in Great Britain. He came from the upper middle class world of Eton where he matriculated. Blair served in the Burmese and Indian Civil Service where he saw British colonialism close up. He later became a journalist and a member of the Communist Party. Orwell was wounded while fighting in the Spanish Civil War. During World War II he served in the Home Guard and broadcast to Asia on the BBC. He wrote many books and countless articles. He died at 47 from T.B. Since his death his books have become popular nd his is now a famous literary name.
The eleven diaries contained in this volume run from 1931 until near the author's death. They cover such topics as:
a. His time picking hops along with tramps in Great Depression era England.
b. His journalistic reports on coal miners and their lives in the West and North of England.
c. The most interesting diary deals with World War II. Orwell was a eyewitness to the London bombing and worked in the BBC offices in London. He comments on the political and military scene with clarity and insight.
d. Many of the diaries deal with Orwell's life on his Wallington farm. We learn about barnyard animals; how many eggs were laid by the hens; wildlife in the region and the growth of garden vegetables and flowers. Orwell was a countryman by nature who loved to hunt, fish and spend time in the outdoors.
Orwell is know best of "Animal Farm" and "1984" but his expose of mining life "The Road t Wigan Pier"; his experience in the Spanish Civil War "Homage to Catalonia" and many of his lesser novels and essays are well worth reading.
The book is introduced by the late Christopher Hitchens an notable biographer of Orwel and edited by Peter Davison. Davison has edited the twenty volume Complete Works of th author.
While I gave the book five stars many of its pages are somewhat dull unless you enjoy the minutia of farm life. This book is a literary event which deserves to be celebrated!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Orwell living in nature's world 3 novembre 2012
Par Montana Skyline - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a volume for those already drawn to Orwell and reasonably familiar with his work. Its entries are mostly mundane, and it is doubtful that one learns much that is wholly new about the author as artist of the written word, political thinker, or philosopher of language. Still, for those who revere or are otherwise intrigued by Orwell, it certainly is worth reading. The diary material is nicely edited, and clearly presented --- at least as can be judged by an enthusiast who is not a scholar. If there are no intimate disclosures or startling comments, the reader is rewarded with a more textured context for the man in the exercise of living, and particularly for his plain sense of connection with simple nature, whether in his garden or wild. If there is anything surprising in the diaries, it is perhaps how important this connection was for Orwell. Also, the reader is enabled to better appreciate the fundamental integrity, or at least serious self-honesty, Orwell practiced in daily life; something familiar in his literary striving and admonitions, but evidently a practiced habit, as well. One can only wish that the diaries from the Spanish war had not vanished into Soviet archives or disposal.
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