22 November 2010

A disappointing Orwell collection


There are 14 essays in George Orwell, A Collection of Essays (Harcourt, Inc., 1981) and 6 of them are Orwell's criticisms of various English writers, including Dickens and Kipling, and of publications such as various weekly magazines for kids that were published in England early in the 20th century. As such, they are outdated and, I suspect, would be of little interest to most present readers. Another essay is about what Orwell thought of Gandhi, which, again, may not be relevant any more.

I enjoyed only 2 of the essays, Shooting an elephant and Marrakech. The first one is Orwell's reminiscences of a particular incident from his days as a police officer in Burma (Myanmar), while the other one is about his experiences in North Africa. In the latter piece, Orwell offers some interesting generalizations about the insignificance of the lives of most humans. Those had inspired me to write this post.

I also posted a slightly shorter version of this review on Amazon with only 2 stars for the book.

1 comment:

Callan Bentley said...

I really enjoyed "Such, such were the joys," and the essays about postcards & boys' magazines, too. If you like Orwell at all, this collection is a must-sample.