In a timely and radically new reappraisal of George Orwell's fiction, Loraine Saunders reads Orwell's novels as tales of successful emancipation rather than as chronicles of failure. Contending that Orwell's novels have been undervalued as works of art, she offers extensive textual analysis to reveal an author who is in far more control of his prose than has been appreciated. Persuasively demonstrating that Orwell's novels of the 1930s such as A Clergyman's Daughter and Keep the Aspidistra Flying are no less important as literature than Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Saunders argues they have been victims of a critical tradition whose practitioners have misunderstood Orwell's narrative style, failed to appreciate Orwell's political stance, and were predisposed to find little merit in Orwell's novels. Saunders devotes significant attention to George Gissing's influence on Orwell, particularly with regard to his representations of women. She also examines Orwell's socialism in the context of the political climate of the 1930s, finding that Orwell, in his successful negotiation of the fine balance between art and propaganda, had much more in common with Charlie Chaplin than with writers like Stephen Spender or W. H. Auden. As a result of Saunders's detailed and accessible analysis, which illuminates how Orwell harmonized allegory with documentary, polyphonic voice with monophonic, and elegy with comedy, Orwell's contributions to the genre of political fiction are finally recognized.
Unsung Artistry of George Orwell
Ashgate Publishing Ltd
The Novels from Burmese Days to Nineteen Eighty-Four