The Cambridge companion to George Orwell /

Corporate Author: Cambridge collections online.
Other Authors: Rodden, John.
Format: Online Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Series: Cambridge companions to literature.
Online Access: Online version
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Review by Choice Review

Given Orwell's place in the debates surrounding the idea of the "public intellectual" both Right and Left, the invocation of Orwell's political vision post-9/11, and the ubiquity of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four on syllabi, a "Cambridge Companion" on the British writer is welcome. However, the book is more valuable in parts than in sum. In contrast to On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future, ed. by Abbott Gleason, Jack Goldsmith, and Martha Nussbaum (2005), which considers the writer's most famous novel from a range of contemporary (and extra-literary) perspectives, the present collection, taken as a whole, seems to diminish Orwell. Although the essays on the writer's politics trace the shifts in his thinking, many pass over the same ground, and the essays on his writing highlight important but recurring themes. The best way to use this book is to choose individual essays, some of which are among the best writing on Orwell this reviewer has encountered. Particularly noteworthy are essays on the fiction, including Michael Levenson's and Morris Dickstein's treatments of less-well-regarded 1930s novels; the nonfiction (contributions by Margery Sabin and William Cain); and John Rossi's and Ian Williams's essays on Orwell's relationship to patriotism and politics in the England of the 1930s. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates. J. M. Utell Widener University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.