“What is most astonishing about these essays are their continuing freshness and relevancy more than half a century after Orwell’s death. Orwell’s crisp and clear journalistic writing style remains highly accessible to 21st-century readers.” —Library Journal
“These in-your-face writings showcase the power of this literary form…”
—Facing Unpleasant Facts, STARRED Publishers Weekly
“[ALL ART IS PROPAGANDA] showcases Orwell in an often unexpected cavalcade of observations on diverse subjects…the book takes on a range of subjects with gusto.” —STARRED Publishers Weekly
“A generous display of the great English journalist’s distinctive honesty, clarity and reverence for the pertinent fact and the perfect phrase.” —Kirkus
Compiled with an introduction by George Packer
Compiled by George Packer and introduction by William Vollmann
George Orwell was first and foremost an essayist. From his earliest published article in 1928 to his untimely death in 1950, he produced an extraordinary array of short nonfiction that reflected—and illuminated—the fraught times in which he lived and wrote. “As soon as he began to write something,” comments George Packer in his forward to this new two-volume collection, “it was natural for Orwell to propose, generalize, qualify, argue, judge—in short, to think—as it was for Yeats to versify or Dickens to invent.
FACING UNPLEASANT FACTS (Harcourt, October 13, 2008) charts Orwell’s development as a master of the narrative-essay form and unites classics such as “Shooting and Elephant” with lesser-known journalism and passages from his wartime diary. Whether detailing the horrors of Orwell’s boyhood in an English boarding school or bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the Spanish Civil War, these narrative essays weave together the personal and the political in an unmistakable style that is at once plain-spoken and brilliantly complex.
ALL ART IS PROPAGANDA (Harcourt, October 13, 2008) follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as “Politics and the English Language” and “Rudyard Kipling” and gems such as “Good Bad Books,” here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, “how to be interesting, line after line.”
As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead.
GEORGE ORWELL (1903 – 1950) served with the Imperial Police in Burma, fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, and was a member of the Home Guard and a writer for the BBC during World War II. He is the author of many works of nonfiction and fiction.
GEORGE PACKER is a staff writer for the New Yorker and author of The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq and other works. He lives in Brooklyn.
WILLIAM VOLLMANN is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, most recently Europe Central, which won the 2005 National Book Award, and Riding Toward Everywhere. He lives in California.
Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays compiled and with introduction by George Packer
Pub Date: October 13, 2008; Price: 25.00, cloth; Pages: 304; Trim: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4; ISBN: 978-0-15101361-6
All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays compiled by George Packer and with introduction by William Vollman
Pub Date: October 13, 2008; Price: 25.00, cloth; Pages: 320; Trim: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4; ISBN: 978-0-15-101355-5
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