During the 1947 Club week there was some talk of George Orwell, most often mention of “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” in relation to “Of Love and Hunger”. After exchanging some comments with Lady Fancifull, where we both confessed our love of Eric Blair, I thought it might be nice to share my George Orwell collection with you.
And here it is in its glory. Orwell has a shelf to himself – he’s that important! My first encounter with his work was when I was at school; I went to a Grammar School in the 1970s and we had a pretty enlightened education, studying “Animal Farm”, “Nineteen Eighty Four” and “Down and Out in Paris and London”. The fact that they survived intense analysis in English lessons and I still love them is testament to their brilliance.
I didn’t have my own copies at the time, but picked these up subsequently (when I was a teenager we had little spare money for books and tended to use the library). Interestingly, OH’s copy of “Nineteen Eighty Four” looks just like the one I read at school, and I covet it….
However, in the 1980s when I was working I started to collect the books I’d always wanted to own, and many of these Orwells come from that time – picked up in charity shops and jumble sales, which is where I often found my books. Yes, I have two copies of “Homage to Catalonia” in paperback, and another in the hardback boxed set. It’s necessary, because there are differences in the old and new Penguins, with the later one being edited to reflect Orwell’s preferred order of chapters.
Alas, I only ever found three volumes of the Collected Essays etc – I have the fourth in the hardbacks, but the OCD side of me would like the Penguin paperback to match these as well… The poems are a recent arrival, appealing to the completist in me, even if poetry is not necessarily Orwell’s strength.
And here are some bits and bobs – a couple of little pamphlets, some Penguin Great Ideas volumes and a notebook that’s too precious to use!
And finally, the box set of hardbacks – a beautiful gift from OH some years ago. It’s a wonderful set, with quality paper and so lovely I’m sometimes scared to read it in case I mess them up (though OH made me a paper cover to put over the books when I’m reading them, and I *did* therefore use this version of “Homage to Catalonia” when I re-read it.) One of my most precious sets of books.
So that’s my Orwell collection – and I’m rather feeling in the mood to read him now! 🙂