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Title: The essays of George Orwell, 1931-1941
Author: Marks, Peter Robert
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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This thesis takes as its focus the essays of George Orwell published between 1931 and 1941. I locate these essays within the arena of debate afforded by the Left-leaning periodicals in which most first appeared, emphasising the crucial (though hitherto neglected) importance of the periodical medium to the development and transmission of Orwell's arguments. Many of the essays considered here are salvaged from obscure or defunct journals, and have been lost to the public gaze for more than half a century. As a result of the inclusion of this material, the thesis consitutes the most complete and sustained analysis to date of Orwell's early essays. In Chapter One I note an inherent critical dimension in the essay form itself, one compatible with Orwell's polemical approach. An historical survey of the development of the periodical traces how the periodical essay comes to be established firmly in the field of public debate, culminating in a sketch of the periodical background in which Orwell's essays were published. In the five chapters which follow, I examine the essays under five rubrics: Imperialism; the Spanish Civil War; Totalitarianism; Socialism, and Literature. Each chapter charts the visions and revisions which characterise Orwell's thought in a turbulent decade, with particular reference to the periodicals in which he and others set out their views. Such contextualisation registers Orwell's conscious use of the periodical medium, both to promote his own controversial opinions, and to assail the arguments of his opponents. The approach of the thesis necessarily facilitates a wider perspective than that of Orwell's essays, and I argue for the significance of the periodical as a means of debate in the literature and volatile section of the Left in which Orwell chose to operate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available