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 certainly is a kind of compulsion. 😉
What is the curious attraction of first editions? There are a few Orwell’s that I covet AND actually have some chance of finding and buying. Inside the Whale, which only had a 1000 copies printed (and some of those were destroyed during “The Blitz” in London) is possible – maybe (update – I have procured a copy from a collector in South Africa). Down and Out in Paris and London on the other hand, I am unlikely to ever own considering the price asked for Orwell’s first book. A signed copy of any first edition will sell for an astronomical price and is simply not affordable. Having said all that, I do have a few firsts, 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. No dust jackets though. This link will give you an idea of the amount requested for Orwell’s books with dust jackets, especially works published in the 1930s.
The Road to Wigan Pier, Left Book Club edition, February 1937 (45,150 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 (Only 5,000 or maybe 7,500 printed)
Homage to Catalonia, Secker and Warburg, 1938 (1,250 copies printed)
Animal Farm, Secker and Warburg, May 1945, (Only 4000 printed)
Animal Farm, Harcourt and Brace, 1946 (50,000 printed in USA)
Critical Essays, Secker and Warburg, February 1946 (Only 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 and Brace, June 1949 (20,000 printed in USA)
Shooting an Elephant and other essays, Secker and Warburg, 5 October 1950
England Your England and other essays, Secker and Warburg, 1953
The Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays, and Reportage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1956
Collected Essays, Secker and Warburg, 1961 (printed)
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. 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
Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays
Down and Out in Paris and London,
Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays
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.
Sonia Brown and Ian Angus eds., 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, 2000
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, 2000
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, 2001
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, 2001
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, 2002
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
Coming Up for Air, Secker & Warburg, 1948
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Secker & Warburg, 1954
Homage to Catalonia, Secker & Warburg, 1954
London, Jack, Introduction by George Orwell, For Love of Life, Paul Elek, 1946
Cole, G.D.H.; Laski, Harold; Orwell, George; Sutherland, Mary,Victory or Vested Interest?, Routledge, 1942
Worsley, T. C., Introduction by George Orwell, The End of the “Old School Tie”, Searchlight Books No. 5, Secker and Warburg, 1941
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; it is the assemblage of so many resources 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.
Bleumel, Kristin, George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics: Intermodernism in Literary London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, 246pp.
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.
Buddicom, Jacintha, Eric & Us: A Remembrance of George Orwell, Frewin, 1974
Buddicom, Jacintha & Venables, Dione, Eric and Us: The Postscript Edition, Finlay Publisher, 2006,
Colls, Robert, English Rebel, Oxford University Press, 2013, 330pp.
Connolly, Cyril, Enemies of Promise, University of Chicago Press, 2008, 288pp.
Coppard, Audrey & Crick, Bernard, Orwell Remembered, Ariel Books, 1984, 287pp.
Crick, Bernard, George Orwell: A Life, London: Secker & Warburg. 1980. 473pp.
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
Fenwick, Gillian, George Orwell: a Bibliography, Oak Knoll Press & St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1998
Fyvel, T.R, George Orwell: A Personal Memoir, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982, 221pp.
Gross, Miriam (ed), The World of George Orwell, Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1971
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.
Marks, Peter, George Orwell the Essayist Literature, Politics and the Periodical Culture, 2011
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, 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.
Newsinger, John, Orwell’s Politics, Palgrave Macmillan,2002, 190pp
Quill and Brush, George Orwell – First Edition and Price Guide, Quill and Brush, 2004
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.
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.
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, For Love of LifeRoad to Miniluv: George Orwell, the State and God,
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.
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, Orwell, Fontana, 1971, 76pp.
Woodcock, George, The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell, Little, Brown and Company. 1966. 366pp.
British Pamphleteers Volume 1: From the 16th Century the 18th Century, Allan Wingate, 1948
Glover, Dennis, The Last Man in Europe – A Novel, Black Inc., 2017
MacMillan, Duncan & Icke, Robert, 1984, Oberon Modern Plays, 2013, 96pp.
Spurling, Hilary, The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell, Counterpoint LLC, 2003, 193pp.
Robert Bierman, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, 1997 (DVD – 101 mins)
Wilkinson, Gary, Wildflower, 2014 (DVD – 15 mins)