My first Orwell was a battered copy of Down and Out in Paris and London found in a secondhand bookstore for a dollar; it is still on my shelf. I read Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four at school and over the next few years bought my own copies. Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays, Homage to Catalonia and a favourite collection, Inside the Whale have been with me from this time at university too. I steadily added to my collection with many books being bought inexpensively online, including quality first editions, often from far afield, some in much sought after dust jackets. My Orwell library has become extensive…obsessively extensive perhaps. It has become a kind of compulsion. 😉
Collecting First Editions
What is the curious attraction of first editions? This link will give you an idea of the amount requested for Orwell’s books in their highly sought after dust jackets, especially works published in the 1930s. A signed copy of any first edition by Orwell will sell for an astronomical price and is simply not affordable.
Having said all that, my growing collection of first editions has most of the books published in Orwell’s lifetime, including both the American and UK editions of Nineteen Eighty-Four which were printed less than a week apart and Animal Farm, which had a very small print run (or at least the UK version did). Neither are in original dust jackets but the facsimile covers are stunning. I am, however, particularly pleased to have both The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius and Critical Essays with good, original dust jackets. Most of my first editions now have facsimile jackets (except for Burmese Days).
There were a few of Orwell’s books that I really coveted AND actually tracked down and purchased at unbelievably good prices. Inside the Whale, which only had a 1000 copies printed (and some of those were destroyed during “The Blitz” in London) became possible when I procured a copy from a collector in South Africa selling his library. He also sold me a doubleplusgood copy of Orwell’s, Homage to Catalonia. Down and Out in Paris and London on the other hand, especially the UK edition with dust jacket, I am unlikely to ever own considering the price asked for Orwell’s first book. I do have a third impression, printed in the same month as the first edition in January, 1933 though. Besides this, I only have Coming Up for Air (1939) and a pamphlet, James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution (1946) to collect.
Down and Out in Paris and London, Victor Gollancz, 1933 Third Impression (1500 copies followed by another 500 for the second impression and then 1000 for this third impression all in January)
Burmese Days, Victor Gollancz, 24 June 1935 (2500 printed)
A Clergyman’s Daughter, Victor Gollancz, 20 March 1935 (2000 printed)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Victor Gollancz, 20 April 1936 (3000 printed but hundreds destroyed during “The Blitz”)
The Road to Wigan Pier, Left Book Club edition, February 1937 (45,150 printed)
The Road to Wigan Pier, Victor Gollancz, 8 March 1937 (2150 printed)
Inside the Whale, Victor Gollancz, 11 March 1940 (1000 printed of which an unknown number were destroyed in “The Blitz”)
The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, Searchlight Books No. 1, Secker and Warburg, February 1941 (5000 printed)
Homage to Catalonia, Secker and Warburg, 1938 (1250 copies printed but only 900 sold and the rest remaindered)
Animal Farm, Secker and Warburg, May 1945, (4000 printed)
Animal Farm, Harcourt and Brace, 1946 (50,000 printed in USA)
Critical Essays, Secker and Warburg, February 1946 (3,028 printed)
The English People, HarperCollins, August 1947 (26,000 printed)
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Secker and Warburg, June 1949 (26,575 printed in UK)
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Harcourt, Brace and Company, June 1949 (20,000 printed in USA)
Shooting an Elephant and other essays, Secker and Warburg, 5 October 1950 (7530 printed)
Coming Up For Air, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1950 (first American edition 8000 printed)
England Your England and other essays, Secker and Warburg, 12 November 1953
Such, Such Were the Joys, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 26 February 1953
The Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays, and Reportage, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1956
Collected Essays, Secker and Warburg, 1961
Journals and other texts
It is wonderful to have some lesser-known, if not exactly esoteric texts too. Orwell wrote prefaces for novels, including for his literary hero Jack London. He also contributed essays to various compilations in the 1940s. I have managed to procure several good copies in dust jackets. Orwell edited British Pamphleteers Volume 1: From the 16th Century the 18th Century and you may not know that he was an obsessive collector of propaganda. Orwell’s widow donated his extensive collection of political pamphlets to the British Museum Library. Here is the complete inventory.
Half-a-dozen or so original journal publications (The Adelphi, Horizon, Partisan Review and World Review) where several of Orwell’s most famous essays were originally printed also grace my shelf. I am scouting for more articles published, as Eric Blair, in the Adelphi when Richard Rees was the editor and have a good lead. It seems like South Africans really like their Orwell.
A Hanging, The Adelphi, Volume II, Number 5, August 1931 (writing as E.A. Blair)
Review of Enid Starkie’s Baudelaire, The Adelphi, Volume VI, Number 5, August 1933, (writing as E.A. Blair)
Boys’ Weeklies, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art. Vol. I No.3, March 1940
The Ruling Class, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art. Vol. II, No.12, December 1940
Wells, Hitler and the World State, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art. Vol. IV, No.20, August 1941
Reflections on Gandhi, Partisan Review, Vol. XVI, No.1, 1949
1984 and Newspeak, World Review, May 1949
Burnham, James, The Managerial Revolution or What is Happening in the World Now, Putnam, London, 1942
Cole, G.D.H.; Laski, Harold; Orwell, George; Sutherland, Mary,Victory or Vested Interest?, Routledge, 1942
Comfort, Alex & Bayliss, John (editors), New Road 1943: New Directions in European Art & Letters, The Grey Walls Press. 230pp.
London, Jack, Introduction by George Orwell, For Love of Life, Paul Elek, 1946
Orwell, George and Reynolds, Reginald, British Pamphleteers Volume 1: From the 16th Century the 18th Century, Allan Wingate, 1948
Worsley, T. C., Introduction by George Orwell, The End of the “Old School Tie”, Searchlight Books No. 5, Secker and Warburg, 1941
Orwell’s Fiction and Non Fiction
My bookshelves include many battered copies of Orwell’s fiction and non fiction in various editions with a few ebooks too. Peter Davison edited The Complete Works of George Orwell, a twenty-volume collection that includes Orwell’s standard published library and eleven chronological volumes of non fiction* with a further supplementary book of ‘lost works’ published a decade later. I have managed to collect all but four of these volumes (and have most 8/11 non fiction volumes in hardback too). It really does make the other books superfluous on one level but then again, it is useful to have different collections/arrangements, especially of Orwell’s essays and journalism.
All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays, Mariner Books, 2009. 416pp.
Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays
Down and Out in Paris and London
Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays, Mariner Books, 2009. 336pp.
George Orwell: The Complete Poetry, Finlay, 2015, 82pp.
Homage to Catalonia
Inside the Whale Other and Other Essays
Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Black Inc, 2017, 322pp
Orwell and Politics, Penguin, 2001, 560pp.
Orwell and the Dispossessed, Penguin, 2001, 448pp.
Orwell in Spain, Penguin, 2001, 416pp.
Orwell’s England, Penguin, 2001, 432pp.
Orwell: The Observer Years, Atlantic, 2005, 256pp.
Orwell in Tribune: “As I Please” and other writings, Methuen Publishing, 2007, 240pp.
Orwell: The War Broadcasts, Penguin, 1995, 336pp.
Orwell: The War Commentaries, Penguin, 1995, 272pp.
Seeing Things as They Are: Selected Journalism and Other Writings, Harvill Secker, 2014, 496pp.
Unwelcome Guerrilla: George Orwell and the New Statesman – An Anthology, Manchester Free Press, 1985, 95pp.
CEJL Volumes I-IV
Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus edited a four volume collection of Orwell’s writings, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell:
- An Age Like This 1920–1940 – Volume 1, Nonpareil Books, 2000, 574pp
- My Country Right or Left 1940–1943 – Volume 2, Nonpareil Books, 2007, 477pp
- As I Please, 1943–1945 – Volume 3, Nonpareil Books, 2000, 435pp
- In Front of Your Nose, 1945–1950 – Volume 4, Nonpareil Books, 2000, pp
The Complete Works of George Orwell
Down and Out in Paris and London, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 1, Secker & Warburg, 1997
Burmese Days, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 2, Secker & Warburg, 1997
A Clergyman’s Daughter, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 3, Secker & Warburg, 1997
The Road to Wigan Pier, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 5, Secker & Warburg, 1997
Coming Up for Air, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 7, Secker & Warburg, 1997
A Kind of Compulsion: 1903–1936, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 10, Secker & Warburg, 1998
A Kind of Compulsion: 1903–1936, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 10, Secker & Warburg, 2000
Facing Unpleasant Facts: 1937–1939, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 11, Secker & Warburg, 1998
Facing Unpleasant Facts: 1937–1939, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 11, Secker & Warburg, 2000
A Patriot After All: 1940–1941, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 12, Secker & Warburg, 1998
A Patriot After All: 1940–1941, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 12, Secker & Warburg, 2000
All Propaganda Is Lies: 1941–1942, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 13, Secker & Warburg, 1998
All Propaganda Is Lies: 1941–1942, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 13, Secker & Warburg, 2001
Keeping Our Little Corner Clean: 1942–1943, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 14, Secker & Warburg, 1998
Keeping Our Little Corner Clean: 1942–1943, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 14, Secker & Warburg, 2001
Two Wasted Years: 1943, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 15, Secker & Warburg, 1998
Two Wasted Years: 1943, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 15, Secker & Warburg, 2001
I Have Tried to Tell the Truth: 1943–1944, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 16, Secker & Warburg, 2001
I Belong to the Left: 1945, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 17, Secker & Warburg, 1998
I Belong to the Left: 1945, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 17, Secker & Warburg, 2001
Smothered Under Journalism: 1946, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 18, Secker & Warburg, 1998
Smothered Under Journalism: 1946, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 18, Secker & Warburg, 2001
It Is What I Think: 1947–1948, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 19, Secker & Warburg, 1998
It Is What I Think: 1947–1948, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 19, Secker & Warburg, 2002
Our Job Is to Make Life Worth Living: 1949–1950, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 20, Secker & Warburg, 1998
Our Job Is to Make Life Worth Living: 1949–1950, The Complete Works of George Orwell – Volume 20, Secker & Warburg, 2002
The Lost Orwell: Being a Supplement to the Complete Works of George Orwell, Timewell Press, 2006
*There is a Kindle version at a bargain price, The Collected Non Fiction.
Burmese Days, Secker & Warburg, 1948 (3000 printed)
Coming Up for Air, Secker & Warburg, 1948 (5000 printed)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Secker & Warburg, 1954
Homage to Catalonia, Secker & Warburg, 1954
Books about Orwell
Anytime I saw a book about Orwell I read it. Usually, it was a library or secondhand copy. My collection grew. Quite a few of these reference works are first editions, although they have no great monetary value it is their content and the assemblage of so many resources in my library that enriches. This collection of non fiction about Orwell has quite a few books that I am looking forward to be reading or completing. Those written by people who knew Orwell, sometimes when he was still Eric Blair, are of particular interest.
Agathocleous, Tanya George Orwell: Battling Big Brother. New York: Oxford University Press. 2000.
Avery, Dennis, George Orwell at the BBC in 1942, Garth Press, 2017. 97pp.
Bergonzi, Bernard, Reading the thirties: texts and contexts, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978. 157pp.
Bleumel, Kristin, George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics: Intermodernism in Literary London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, 246pp.
Bloom, Harold (Editor), George Orwell: Bloom’s Modern Critical Views (Updated Edition), Chelsea House, 2007. 224pp.
Bound, Phillip, Orwell and Marxism: The Political and Cultural Thinking of George Orwell, I.B.Tauris, 2009
Bowker, Gordon, Inside George Orwell, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 512pp.
Brennan, Michael G., George Orwell and Religion, Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, 208pp.
Brander, Laurence, George Orwell, Longmans, Green & Co, 1954, 212pp.
Brown, E.J., Brave New World, 1984, and We: An essay on Anti-Utopia, Ardis, 1986. 61pp.
Buddicom, Jacintha, Eric & Us: A Remembrance of George Orwell, Frewin, 1974
Buddicom, Jacintha & Venables, Dione, Eric and Us: The Postscript Edition, Finlay Publisher, 2006,
Calder, Jenni, A Study of George Orwell and Arthur Koestler, Secker & Warburg, 1968, 303pp.
Calder, Nigel, 1984 and Beyond, Penguin, 1984. 208pp.
Carr, Craig L., Orwell, Politics, and Power, Continuum Publishing Corporation, 2012. 178pp.
Carter, Michael, George Orwell and the problem of authentic existence, Croom Helm, 1985. 228pp.
Colls, Robert, English Rebel, Oxford University Press, 2013, 330pp.
Connolly, Cyril, Enemies of Promise, University of Chicago Press, 2008, 288pp.
Connolly, Mark, Orwell and Gissing, Peter Lang, 1997.
Coppard, Audrey & Crick, Bernard, Orwell Remembered, Ariel Books, 1984, 287pp.
Craig, Sandy and Schwarz, Chris, Down and Out: Orwell’s Paris and London Revisited, Penguin, 1984
Crick, Bernard, George Orwell: A Life, London: Secker & Warburg. 1980. 473pp.
Crick, Bernard, George Orwell: A Life, Penguin. 1992. 676pp.
Cushman, Thomas and Rodden, John (editors), George Orwell: Into the Twenty-First Century. Paradigm. 2004. 316pp.
Davison, Peter, George Orwell: Diaries, Liveright, 2010, 544pp
Davison, Peter, George Orwell: A Life in Letters, Liveright. 2013. 560pp
Davison, Peter, George Orwell: A Literary Life. Macmillan. 1996. 175pp
Eagleton, Terry, Exiles and emigres: Studies in modern literature, Chatto & Windus, 1970. 227pp.
Jensen, Ejner J. (Editor), The Future of Nineteen Eighty-Four, University of Michigan Press, 1986, 210pp.
Elwood, Sean (Editor), The 1984 Show, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, 1983. 161pp.
Etchart, Julio, Imagining Orwell from Katha to Catalonia, Blurb, 2017. 80pp.
Fenwick, Gillian, George Orwell: a Bibliography, Oak Knoll Press & St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1998
Flynn, Nigel, George Orwell: Life & Works, Wayland Publishers, 1989. 112pp.
Fyvel, T.R, George Orwell: A Personal Memoir, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982, 221pp.
Fyvel, T.R, George Orwell: A Personal Memoir, Hutchinson, 1983, 221pp.
Gardner, Averil, George Orwell, Twayne Publishers, 1983. 176pp.
Greenblatt, Stephen Jay, Three Modern Satirists: Waugh, Orwell, and Huxley, Yale University Press, 1965, 140pp.
Gross, Miriam (ed), The World of George Orwell, Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1971. 182pp.
Gross, Miriam (ed), The World of George Orwell, Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1971. 182pp.
Heppenstall, Rayner, Four Absentees, 1960, Barrie & Rockliff, 206pp.
Hitchens, Christopher, Orwell’s Victory, Penguin, 2002, 208pp.
Hollis, Christopher, A Study of George Orwell: The Man and His Works, Racehorse Publishing, 2017
Hopkinson, Tom, George Orwell. London: Longmans Green. 1953. 40pp.
Huber, Peter, Orwell’s Revenge, Free Press, 1994. 366pp.
Hunter, Lynette, George Orwell: The Search for a Voice, Open University Press, 1984. 242pp.
Kalechofsky, Roberta, George Orwell, F. Ungar Publishing Company,1973. 149pp.
Kubal, David, L., Outside the Whale: George Orwell’s Art and Politics, Univesity of Notre Dame Press, 1972. 169pp.
Larkin, Emma, Finding George Orwell in Burma, Granta, 2011. 304pp.
Lebedoff, David, The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War, Scribe, 2008. 272pp.
Lewis, Peter, George Orwell the Road to 1984, Heinemann/Quixote Press, 1981
Lief, Ruth Ann, Homage to Oceania: The Prophetic Vision of George Orwell, Columbus, 1969. 162pp.
Marks, Peter, George Orwell the Essayist Literature, Politics and the Periodical Culture, 2011. 232pp.
Meyers, Jeff, George Orwell: The Critical Heritage. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975
Meyers, Jeff, George Orwell: The Critical Heritage. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975. Reprinted 1997 and 2001.
Meyers, Jeff, George Orwell: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism. New York and London: Garland, 1977
Meyers, Jeff, A Reader’s Guide to George Orwell, Thames & Hudson, 1975. 192pp.
Meyers, Jeff, Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation. New York and London: Norton; Toronto: Viking-Penguin, 2000
Meyers, Valerie, George Orwell, St. Martin’s Press, 1991
Meyers, Jeffrey and Valerie, George Orwell : an annotated bibliography of criticism, New York : Garland Pub., 1977
Milner, Andrew, The Road to St. Kilda Pier: George Orwell and the Politics of the Australian Left, Stained Wattle Press, 1984, 92pp.
Middleton, Haydn, George Orwell (Creative Lives), Heinemann Library, 2002
Montefiore, Janet, Men and Women Writers of the 1930s, 1996. 278pp.
Mulvihill, Robert, Reflections on America, 1984: An Orwell Symposium, University of Georgia Press, 1986. 221pp.
Newsinger, John, Orwell’s Politics, Palgrave Macmillan,2002, 190pp
Norris, Christopher, Inside the Myth: Orwell – Views from the Left, Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, 1984. 289pp.
Oxley, B.T., George Orwell, Arco, 1969. 158pp.
Patai, Daphne, The Orwell Mystique: A Study in Male Ideology, University of Massachusetts Press, 1984. 334pp.
Plant, David, Difficult Women – A Memoir of Three: Sonia Orwell, Jean Rhys, Germaine Greer, Atheneum, 1983, 174pp.
Potts, Paul, Dante Called You Beatrice, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1960, 224pp.
Quill and Brush, George Orwell – First Edition and Price Guide, Quill and Brush, 2004
Rees, Richard, A theory of my time: An essay in didactic reminiscence, Secker & Warburg, 1963. 239pp.
Rees, Richard, Fugitive from the Camp of Victory, Secker & Warburg, 1961. 160pp.
Rees, Richard, Fugitive from the Camp of Victory, Secker & Warburg, 1961. 160pp.
Reilly, Patrick, George Orwell: The Age’s Adversary, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 1986, 316pp.
Richards, Vernon, ed., George Orwell at Home (and Among the Anarchists): Essays and Photographs, Freedom Press, 1998, 76pp.
Ricks, Thomas E., Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom 2017, 352pp.
Robson, Bryan, Carter, Ray, Muggeridge, Malcolm, George Orwell in 1984: Exhibition at St Paul’s School, JT Huckin & Co,1984. 20pp.
Rodden, John, The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell. Cambridge University Press.
Rodden, John, George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation, Routledge, 2002, 532pp.
Rodden, John, The Unexamined Orwell, University of Texas Press, 2011, 403pp.
Savage, Robert L., Combs, James & Nimmo, Dan (Editors), The Orwellian moment: hindsight and foresight in the post-1984 world, University of Arkansas Press, 1989. 180pp.
Shelden, Michael, Orwell: The Authorised Biography, London: Heinemann. 1991. 564pp.
Shelden, Michael, Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of Horizon, HarperCollins Publishers, 1989, 254pp
Slater, Ian, The Road to Airstrip One, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003, 312pp.
Small, Christopher, The Road to Miniluv: George Orwell, the State and God, Gollancz, 1975, 220pp
Smith, David, Orwell for Beginners, Writers & Readers, 2000. 192pp.
Stansky, Peter & Abrahams, William, The Unknown Orwell, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972. 316pp.
Stansky, Peter & Abrahams, William, Orwell: The Transformation, Alfred A. Knopf, 1979, 302pp.
Sutherland, John, Orwell s Nose: A Pathological Biography, Reaktion Books, 2016, 240pp.
Symons, Julian, 1948 and 1984: The Second Orwell Memorial Lecture, The Tragara Press, 1984. 32pp. (1 of 135 copies)
Taylor, DJ, Orwell – The Life, Vintage Books, 2003, 496pp.
Thompson, John, Orwell’s London, 4th Estate, 1984, 120pp.
West, W.J., The larger evils: Nineteen eighty-four – the truth behind the satire, Canongate Press, 1992, 207pp.
Williams, Raymond (Editor), George Orwell: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice Hall, 1974. p182p.
Williams, Raymond, Orwell, Fontana, 1974, 76pp.
Woodcock, George, The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell, Jonathan Cape, 1967. 288pp.
Woodcock, George, The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell, Black Rose Books. 2005. 252pp.
Zwerdling, Alex, Orwell and the Left, Yale University Press, 1974. 215pp.
Miscellany (including books that inspired Orwell)
Bierman, Robert, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, 1997 (DVD – 101 mins)
Connolly, Cyril, The Golden Horizon, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1955. 596pp.
Glover, Dennis, The Last Man in Europe – A Novel, Black Inc., 2017
Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World, Chatto & Windus, 1932, First Edition
London, Jack, The People of the Abyss, Nelson, 1903 (The author tramping in the East End inspired Orwell)
Lyons, Eugene, Assignment in Utopia, George G. Harrap and Company Limited, 1937
MacMillan, Duncan & Icke, Robert, 1984, Oberon Modern Plays, 2013, 96pp.
Miller, Henry, Tropic of Cancer, Obelisk, Feb. 1939 Fifth Printing
Miller, Henry, Black Spring, The Obelisk Press, Feb. 1938 Second Printing
Miller, Henry, Tropic of Cancer, Grove, 1961 First American Edition
Miller, Henry, Tropic of Capricorn, Grove,1961 First American Edition
Miller, Henry, Black Spring, The Obelisk Press,1963 First American Edition
Montefiore, Janet, Men and Women Writers of the 1930s: The Dangerous Flood of History, Routledge, 2003
Myers, L.H., The Root and the Flower/The Near and the Far, Secker & Warburg, 1984. 583pp.
Radford, Michael, 1984, 1984, (Bluray – 113 mins)
Rajan, B. & Pearse, Andrew (Editors), Focus One, Dennis Dobson Publications, 1945
Spurling, Hilary, The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell, Counterpoint LLC, 2003, 193pp.
Wilkinson, Gary, Wildflower, 2014 (DVD – 15 mins)