Such, Such Were the Joys and Other Essays

  • by George Orwell
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Viewed as too libelous to print in England until 1968, the title essay in this collection reveals the abuse Orwell experienced as a child at an expensive and snobbish boarding school and offers insights into his lifelong concern for the oppressed."Why I Write" describes Orwell's sense of political purpose, and the classic essay "Politics and the English Language" insists on clarity and precision in communication in order to avoid the Newspeak later described in 1984.Other essays focus on Gandhi (he "disinfected the political air"), Dickens ("no novelist has shown the same power of entering into the child's point of view"), Kipling ("a jingo imperialist"), Henry Miller (who told Orwell that involvement in the Spanish war was an act of an idiot), and England "a family with the wrong members in control").


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Superb collection of essays, very well read

This is a first-rate collection of essays by one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. The reader, Frederick Davidson, is excellent (as usual). As other reviewers have pointed out, the recording skips in places; this happens especially often in the latter half of Part 2. In nearly all cases the skips are tiny and it's easy enough to fill in the missing word (and it really does seem to be just one word that's affected), but there are a few more substantial skips. This isn't really acceptable, frankly, but I found it detracted less from my enjoyment of the book than one might think. It's not ideal, but it's hardly a fatal flaw when the content is so very good.

The complete contents are as follows:

- "Such, Such Were the Joys"
- Charles Dickens
- The Art of Donald McGill
- Rudyard Kipling
- Raffles and Miss Blandish
- Shooting an Elephant
- Politics and the English Language
- Reflections on Gandhi
- Marrakech
- Looking Back on the Spanish War
- Inside the Whale
- England Your England
- Boys' Weeklies
- Why I Write
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- Christopher

5-star work, but technical problems

These essays are unusually smart and convey Orwell's particular brand of thinking. The flavor of the book is very English, somewhat glum, but intellectually stimulating. The parts which are dated (the English are a particularly gentle people) or esoteric (a long discussion about the meaning of popular picture post cards) or suspect (socialism or totalitarianism or the only viable options), are still quite interesting and even illuminating. The narrator is very upper-crust-sounding, but it fits somehow. The four stars are not five only because there are so many skips -- not just one or two as you might have in any recording, but dozens -- that it sometimes affects the meaning. When you have a writer who uses prose as economically as Orwell, you can't afford to lose many words.
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- Joseph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-25-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.