Orwell was prolific to an extraordinary degree, and in the 21 years of his writing career wrote several times what many other famously prolific authors produced over much longer periods.
He crossed the boundaries in his writing, covering novels, journalism, critical reviews, editing, diaries, and commentaries, on subjects from high and low art, language, politics and philosophy, cookery, nature and the English countryside, different cultures, history and war, self-analysis, humour (and he could write humorously on all kinds of subjects see “Down and Out in Paris and London”, for example), and of course on a range of social issues. He carried on voluminous correspondence with many people (some of it with French people and in French).
He was a prolific author, leaving a huge mass of material. And he also did things with his life. There are also various good quality collections of his work, sometimes specific and famous collections of essays, some of his letters, some of his diaries, of his political writings, or his criticism, and so on.
Careful which editions you buy. And where you buy from. Amazon may be best avoided. There are scam versions, which are now getting about quite widely, especially on the internet. Our recommendation is that you go to your local bookshop/bookstore, and if in doubt ask there.
This little list just covers some of the better known works. It also refers to some of the works with particular reference to Paris. Below is a table of the book titles with their titles for the French translations.
1928-1929 First professional articles published in Paris (in French)
1930-1931 Early version of Down and Out in Paris and London. Contributed essays to
. Adelphi magazine (including The Spike and The Hanging) under his own name
1933 First book, Down and Out in Paris and London (Victor Gollancz),
. using for the first time the pseudonym “George Orwell”
1934 Burmese Days published in United States (October)
1934-1935 A Clergyman’s Daughter (published 1935)
. Burmese Days published in USA (1934) in England (1935)
1935 La Vache Enragée (Down and Out, French edition) published
. translated by Réné-Noël Raimbault; (a later edition in French
. Dans la dèche à Paris et à Londres, by Michel Petris, was published in 1982,
and that is the name that is now most commonly used)
1936 Keep the Aspidistra Flying published
1937 The Road to Wigan Pier published. Left Book Club edition 40,000 copies
1938 Homage to Catalonia published 40 copies sold in his lifetime
1939 Coming Up for Air published
1940 Inside the Whale published
1941 The Lion and the Unicorn published
1943-1946 Literary Editor of Tribune
1945 War correspondent for The Observer in Paris and Cologne (March-May)
. Animal Farm published
1946 Critical Essays (essays from the wartime) published
How the Poor Die
1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four published. Over 400,000 copies sold in first year.
|Dans la dèche à Paris et à Londres||Down and Out in Paris and London||Original translation (by R-N Raimbault) as|
La Vache Enragée)
|La Ferme des animaux||Animal Farm|
|1984||Nineteen Eighty-Four||but also known as 1984 in American and other English language editions|
|Hommage à la Catalogne||Homage to Catalonia||First published in French as|
La Catalogne libre
|Une histoire birmane||Burmese Days|
|Le quai de Wigan||The Road to Wigan Pier|
|Un peu d’air frais||Coming up for Air|
|Et vive l’aspidistra||Keep the Aspidistra Flying|
|Une fille de pasteur||A Clergyman’s Daughter|
|Just a few recommendations for Orwell’s Essays (among so many gems to choose from …) If you have a particular one you would like to see recommended, simply send a message : click here to use the contact form|
|Politics and the English Language|
|Why I Write|
|Some Thoughts on the Common Toad|
|The Lion and the Unicorn|
|Shooting an Elephant|
|How the Poor Die|
|Notes on Nationalism|
Beware of fraudulent editions of Orwell’s work, especially online. Even Amazon is best avoided unless you are expert enough. This problem seems to have been precipitated by the ending of copyright (in most countries) in 2020.
There have been reports in the New York Times, Le Figaro and elsewhere.
The best solution is to buy at your local bookshop (bookstore). If you are in doubt you can ask a real person there for any help!
Sometimes people ask about books about Orwell, what can be recommended?
There are now several excellent biographies and although they cover his life, they have different strengths in looking at particular aspects of his life and work. There has been a lot of research of late, too. There have also been articles and books of somewhat “uneven” quality.
If want to start with a couple of excellent biographies, and an excellent summary of the reasons to read today what Orwell was saying, try these:
|Gordon Bowker: George Orwell|
|D.J. Taylor: Orwell, The Life|
|Christopher Hitchens: Why Orwell Matters|
Bookshops: Suggested sources for new and secondhand English language editions in Paris:
|Shakespeare and Company|
|Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore|
|San Francisco Book Company|