George Orwell

Orwell, George

British writer (1903-1950). Typed letter signed ("George"). Barnhill, Isle of Jura, Argyllshire. 4to. 1 p. Printed letter-heading.
$ 17,748 / 15.000 € (60584)

To the novelist Anthony Powell ("Dear Tony"), declining to review a Gissing book [for the Times Literary Supplement]: "I'd love to do it but I'm really afraid I must say no. The thing is I'm not only struggling with this book of mine but shall also be pretty busy while in London", among other "time-wasting things to do" having to write a long article; he concludes: "Winter is setting in here, rather dark and gloomy. Already we light the lamps at about half past five. However we've got a lot more coal here than we should have in London, and this house is a lot more weather proof than my flat, where the water was coming through the roof in twelve places last winter".

In fine, fresh condition. - Powell was at this time Fiction Editor of the TLS and had asked him to review a new edition of A Life's Morning by George Gissing, an author Orwell greatly admired and a major influence. Orwell was in fact to write his well-known essay on Gissing, by way of a review of two other reissues, the following year. There is, in D.J. Taylor's words, 'an eeriness about the Gissing fixation that coloured the last years of Orwell's life' (p. 339). Orwell had been born in 1905, the year Gissing died; both men dying at the same age and of lung disease: Orwell describing Gissing's novels as having been 'sweated out of him during his struggle towards a leisure which he never enjoyed'..

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Orwell, George

British writer (1903-1950). Autograph letter signed ("George"). Barnhill, Isle of Jura, Argyllshire. 4to. 3 pp. Printed letter-heading.
$ 41,412 / 35.000 € (60585)

To the novelist Anthony Powell ("Dear Tony"), giving a detailed account of his health, the treatment available and his hopes of securing a consignment to somewhere warm abroad for a couple of months, all of which has meant that he has done little work for weeks: "have only done the rough draft of my novel, which I always consider as the half-way mark. I was supposed to finish it by May – now, God knows when", and gives his opinion that "in these days besides putting the date of publication in books one also ought to put the date of writing" ("...In the spring I'm reprinting a novel which came out in 1939 & was rather killed by the war, so that makes up a little for being late with my new one..."), and congratulates Powell on the progress of his Aubrey book; the rest of the letter he devotes to the subject of saddles, hoping Powell can procure one for the farm pony, used for running errands to save petrol, as "it's so tiring riding bareback"; ending with the news that Richard is "offensively well & full of violence", having been through whooping cough without even noticing he had it, and by giving his love to everyone.

In fine, fresh condition. - The other novel which he describes as having been "rather killed by the war" is Coming Up for Air, which had been published on 12 June 1939 and which, in fact, sold well and was almost immediately reprinted. The second edition to which this letter refers came out on 13 May 1948, constituting the first volume in the Universal Edition of Orwell's works; the proofs of which Orwell received on 7 October and returned on 22 October 1947. Powell published John Aubrey and His Friends in 1948, and Brief Lives and Other Selected Writings of John Aubrey in 1949. This letter is included in the selected edition, George Orwell: A Life in Letters..

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Orwell, George

British writer (1903-1950). Autograph letter signed ("George"). Ward 3, Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire. 8vo. 3 pp.
$ 21,298 / 18.000 € (60586)

To the novelist Anthony Powell ("Dear Tony"), describing his reviewing work for the Times Literary Supplement and reporting on improved health having embarked on a course of streptomycin ("...I am having a drug called streptomycin, which is a novelty in this country but is thought to be vy good. It appears to be doing its stuff, though it's too early for them to say for certain. The doctor says that my lung is healing up fast & that I ought to be out & about by the summer..."); after giving further news of Richard, who has been tested for TB, and his flat, he devotes the final paragraph to a discussion of the forthcoming uniform edition: "I've arranged to bring out my uniform edition at the rate of a volume a year, & at present I have got six books to go in it, as I have suppressed several.

I hope they'll be others later... I had always wanted to have something vy sort of chaste but solid in blue buckram for about 5/-. I notice both Evelyn Waugh's & Graham Greene's uniform editions are vy cheap-looking. They don't seem to be able to make a book now with covers that don't bend. It makes me vy envious to see American books". On lined paper, slight crumpling and contemporary drink-stains. - Among the reviews he mentions is "a rather dreadful anthology of recent American stuff called 'Spearhead'": this appeared in the TLS on 17 April 1948 and offered a long and wide-ranging review of current American poetry and prose, taking sideswipes at, among others, William Carlos Williams and E.E. Cummings, 'an irritating writer'; and noting that 'Henry Miller's favourite verb has been laboriously blacked out by hand, over a stretch of fifty pages'..

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Orwell, George

Typed letter signed ("Geo. Orwell") with an autograph insertion.
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar

Highly important autobiographical statement, composed on the Isle of Jura while writing "1984", and but a week after narrowly escaping drowning in the notorious Corryvreckan Whirlpool. The three-page-letter to the editor Richard Usborne was written to furnish him with a sketch of his life and thought, in response to his enquiry: "[...] After leaving school I served five years in the Imperial Police in Burma, but the job was totally unsuited to me and I resigned [...] I am a widower with a son aged a little over 3 [...] I [have] started a novel which I hope to finish by the spring of 1948. I am trying not to do anything else while I get on with this [...] I mean to spend the winter in Jura this year, partly because I never seem to get any continuous work done in London, partly because I think it will be a little easier to keep warm here [...]". Orwell, of course, had a greater struggle to finish '1984' than he here anticipates, being admitted to hospital early in 1948 after only the first draft was ready, and further ruining his health in a race against time to finish the book. It was finally published on 8 June 1949, seven months before his death. - The longest part of this remarkable letter is devoted to the development of those political beliefs that inform and inspired his opus magnum: "[...] As to politics, I was only intermittently interested in the subject until about 1935, though I think I can say I was always more or less 'left.' In 'Wigan Pier' I first tried to thrash out my ideas. I felt, as I still do, that there are huge deficiencies in the whole conception of Socialism, and I was still wondering whether there was any other way out. After having a fairly good look at British industrialism at its worst, ie. in the mining areas, I came to the conclusion that it is a duty to work for Socialism even if one is not emotionally drawn to it, because the continuance of the present conditions is simply not tolerable, and no solution except some kind of collectivism is viable, because that is what the mass of people want. About the same time I became infected with a horror of totalitarianism, which indeed I already had in the form of hostility towards the Catholic Church. I fought for six months (1936-7) in Spain on the side of Government, and had the misfortune to be mixed up in the internal struggle on the Government side, which left me with the conviction that there is not much to choose between Communism and Fascism, though for various reasons I would choose Communism if there were no other choice open. I have been vaguely associated with Trotskyists and Anarchists, and more closely with the left wing of the Labour Party (the Bevan-Foot end of it) [...] But I have never belonged to a political party, and I believe that even politically I am more valuable if I record what I believe to be true and refuse to toe a party line [...]". Usborne was at the time assistant editor to Macdonald Hastings at The Strand, and was to go on to write two classic studies, "Clubland Heroes" (1953) and "Wodehouse at Work" (1961), as well as completing Wodehouse's last novel, "Sunset at Blandings" (1977). This milieu, that Usborne was to make his own, held its fascination for Orwell as well, as exemplified by his essays on "Boys' Weeklies" (1939) and "In Defence of P. G. Wodehouse" (1945). John Rodden, in his review of Peter Davison's important 2010 collection of Orwell's correspondence (cf. below) which first included this letter, writes that "Orwell [here] furnishes a thousand-word summary regarding the evolution of his thinking on the warring ideologies of the day. Most important is his remark that 'there is not much to choose between Communism and Fascism.' Despite Orwell's status as the leading literary Cold Warrior of the West, critics and historians have not claimed that Orwell viewed communism as an evil equivalent to Nazism and fascism - not even his conservative or neoconservative admirers. Thus the statement to Richard Usborne represents an unexpected revelation" (John Rodden, The Unexamined Orwell, p. 302). - Traces of folds and staplemarks (slight ruststains on p. 1). On headed stationery.


Orwell, George

Autograph letter signed ("George").
Autograph ist nicht mehr verfügbar