The most recent and complete collection of Orwell’s works spans twenty volumes. Edited by Peter Davison (no, not that one) the first nine volumes are the books and the other eleven are the letters and journalism, broadly speaking. This week’s episode of the podcast covers volumes eighteen and nineteen, plus my thoughts about Orwell’s fiction.
I read Orwell’s letters and diaries a long time ago, and the main memory I have is of his wartime diaries. He had chickens and grew various crops, and he would note his progress methodically in the diary. He was not a happy man, you might think, yet he seems to have achieved contentment at the very least. He’s not someone I would have got on with, judging from his strong politics. Beliefs which famously got him shot will fighting someone else’s war in Spain. I can safely promise that I would never engage in such activities. But these were different times. Who can say?