[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0199680809″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51S-yGp4LLL.jpg” width=”222″ alt=”Robert Colls” ]A Window on the Truth
A Feature Review of
George Orwell: English Rebel
Hardback: Oxford UP, 2013
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Reviewed by Taylor Brorby
George Orwell was nothing if not contradictory. As Robert Colls points out in his latest book, George Orwell: English Rebel, Orwell “was what they used to call a ‘Socialist’. He shared also some attitudes to life that used to be called ‘Tory’.” But, as Colls highlights, Orwell’s contrariness goes even deeper—he was a privately educated (scholarship-funded) student who chose to decline attending Cambridge; he joined the Imperial Police, going to Burma, though he disdained British imperialism; he was thoroughly British, though he swore no allegiance to his homeland. Orwell, in many ways, was the precursor to another of Britain’s more famous sons, Christopher Hitchens.
Colls’s book deftly illustrates a rather conflicted man: Orwell left no major body of work, though his works play a large part in literature and political science classes, and, as a result, leave him without classification—is Orwell a satirist? Polemic? Allegorist? Essayist? Novelist? Since Orwell lived in no narrow genre, his mind lives largely in many areas of scholarship.