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Orwell

On sale

25th May 2023

Price: £30

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472132963

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Over seventy years since his premature death, George Orwell (1903-50) has become one of the most significant figures in western literature. His two dystopian masterpieces, Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) have together sold over 40 million copies. Even now, he continues to exert a decisive influence on our understanding of international power-politics.

D.J. Taylor’s new biography, the first full-length study for 20 years, draws on a wide range of previously unseen material – newly-discovered letters to old girlfriends and professional colleagues, the recollections of the dwindling band of people who remember him, new information about his life in the early 1930s – to produce a definitive portrait of this complex, driven and self-mythologising man.

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Reviews

Business Post
[A] rich, vivid and comprehensive profile . . . DJ Taylor's landmark biography feels like the closest we will ever get to the truth behind [Orwell]
Guardian
Magisterial
Telegraph
An astonishing verdict on George Orwell's virtues - and his vices . . . [The book] adds fresh material to give a fuller portrait of the real Eric Blair . . . it is hard to imagine him portrayed more sensitively or judiciously than he is here
Telegraph
An astonishing verdict on George Orwell's virtues - and his vices . . . [The book] adds fresh material to give a fuller portrait of the real Eric Blair . . . it is hard to imagine him portrayed more sensitively or judiciously than he is here
Country Life
A full, richly detailed, admiring, illuminating account that nevertheless retains a sprightly, sometimes ironic pithiness . . . With a wealth of contextual information and access to extensive archival material, Mr Taylor assuredly traces his subject's picaresque progress
Tablet
Taylor keeps man and myth in play, always countering our idea of Orwell with Orwell's idea of himself and rendering his odd, infuriating, delightful character from the various shadows he threw
Daily Mail
A tour de force . . . if you read this definitive book, you'll almost feel you've been George Orwell himself
Irish Independent
Fluent, careful, nuanced and revealing . . . Taylor is excellent on how Orwell's childhood nourished and shaped his life . . . Taylor presents Orwell's deficiencies unstintingly while at the same time managing not to toxify the subject . . . illuminating, fair-minded work
Spectator
This is a book which tells the story of how and why George Orwell became George Orwell, what it means and why it matters
Critic
Taylor is not only a compelling writer, but is also able to distil the essence of a notoriously elusive man . . . his prose [is] brisk and entertaining without skimping on detail . . . Orwell: the New Life comes as close to recreating the man as can be expected, and at a time when his insights are most needed
New Statesman
If you want to know how [Orwell] became a great writer, and a tormented figure, and a national treasure, David Taylor's New Life is the doubleplusgood place to start
The Times
Incisive
Guardian
Orwell's voice comes alive again in a biography drawing on newly discovered letters
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Taylor's Orwell: The New Life is a new text that completes the picture by fleshing out Orwell's emotional life with recently discovered letters and interviews with the last living people to have known him. Expertly told and subtle in judgment, The New Life will not be the last word in the ever-growing field of Orwelliana, but it will become its central monument
Irish Independent
Taylor presents Orwell's deficiencies unstintingly while at the same time managing not to toxify the subject . . . [an] illuminating, fair-minded work