It is exciting to collect the original ‘little magazines’ where Orwell published his most famous essays and articles as well as the less well-known contributions made to periodicals during his working career as a journalist in the 1930s and 40s. He contributed to many varied, often short-lived, literary publications. I have not managed to find many original copies of his earliest published writings from the late 1920s in Paris (although I have scans) but recently found an edition of Monde with one of Eric Blair’s first paid articles (on John Galsworthy).

A large number of original journal publications – The Adelphi, The New Adelphi, Gangrel, Now, Horizon, New Republic, Partisan Review, Polemic, The Listener, The Windmill and World Review –  where several of Orwell’s most famous essays were originally printed have been collected. Orwell continued to support little literary journals even after his fame would have readily commanded higher remuneration. For example, ‘Why I Write’, was published in the short-lived Gangrel  during the summer of 1946. Oddly, Vogue, also published articles on Orwell and other writers of his generation as early as 1939.

The Adelphi

The Adelphi was founded in 1923 and extraordinarily, considering the times, did not cease publication until the mid-1950s. The journal was hugely significant to Orwell as it led to many literary contacts and important friendships. These included the editors – John Middleton MurrySir Richard Rees and Max Plowman – as well as staff, including Jack Common. The magazine published Orwell’s first reviews in 1930 and more important his early seminal writing, ‘The Spike’ and ‘A Hanging’, in 1931. Orwell contributed regularly as a reviewer during the 1930s. His last review in The Adelphi was published in 1948.

Orwell told Rees that when he was in Burma he had thought The Adelphi a ‘scurrilous rag’ and had used it for target practice. It is possible he was jesting, Rees often could not tell. I have collected all the early editions (1923-1925) to get a sense of what literary essays, reviews, stories and poetry Eric Blair was reading while serving with the Indian Imperial Police.

Review of Herman Melville by Lewis Mumford, The New Adelphi, Volume III, Number 4, March-May 1930 (writing as E.A. Blair)

Review of Angel Pavement by J. B. Priestley, The Adelphi, Volume I, Number 1, October 1930 (writing as E.A. Blair)

Review of The Two Carlyles by Osbert Burdett, The Adelphi, Volume I, Number 6, New Series, March 1931, pp. 534-536 (writing as Eric Blair)

‘The Spike’, The Adelphi, Volume II, Number 1, New Series, April 1931, pp. 24-33 (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, The Adelphi, Volume II, Number 3, New Series, June 1931, pp. 269-270 (writing as E.A.B.)

A Hanging’, The Adelphi, Volume II, Number 5, New Series, August 1931, pp. 417-422 (writing as E.A. Blair)

Review of The Civilisation of France, by Ernst Robert Curtius, The Adelphi, Volume 4, Number 2, New Series, May 1932. pp. [ii]+[489]-566, (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of Gogol by Boris de Schloezer, The Adelphi, Volume 6, Number 1, New Series, April 1933, pp. 74-75 (writing as Eric Blair)

‘Summer-like for an instant’, The Adelphi, Volume 6, Number 2, New SeriesMay 1933 (writing as Eric Blair who was still hoping to be a poet)

Review of Enid Starkie’s BaudelaireThe Adelphi, Volume 6, Number 5, New SeriesAugust 1933 (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of Criticisms and Opinions of the Works of Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton, The Adelphi, Volume 7, Number 3, New SeriesDecember 1933 (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of The Aesthetic of Stephane Mallarme by Hayse Cooperman and Baudelaire, the Tragic Sophist, by G. T. Clapton, The Adelphi, Volume 8, Number 4, New Series, July 1934, pp. [ii]+[235]-296 (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of The Poems of Rainer Maria RilkeThe Adelphi, Volume 8, Number 5, New Series, August 1934, pp. 356-357 (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of Mediaeval Religion by Christopher Dawson, The Adelphi, Volume 9, Number, 2 New Series, November 1934 (writing as Eric Blair)

Review of Caliban Shrieks by Jack Hilton, The Adelphi, Volume 9, Number 6, New Series, March 1935, pp. 279-280 (writing for the first time as George Orwell in this journal)

‘St Andrew’s Day: A Poem, 1935′, The Adelphi, Volume 11, Number 2, November 1935

‘George Orwell’s Rouser’, The Adelphi, Volume 17, Number 7, April 1941, (Max Plowman’s review of The Lion and The Unicorn)

Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art

Orwell’s old school friend, Cyril Connolly, edited the influential literary magazine, Horizon. On the 8th December 1939 Orwell had written to his agent, Leonard Moore, enquiring if his publisher would mind if one of his essays from a forthcoming book could be printed in the new journal:

“I have finished my book (the book of essays—the title is INSIDE THE WHALE) and have typed most of it but my wife is typing another portion in London. Meanwhile Cyril Connolly and Stephen Spender, who as perhaps you know are starting a new monthly called HORIZON, want to see the MS. in case they would like to print one of the essays in their paper. I don’t know if any of them are really suitable for this, but if they do wish to use one of them, would that be all right with the publisher?”

Publication of Horizon began in January 1940 and one of Orwell’s essays, ‘Boys’ Weeklies’, appeared in the March 1940 issue.

‘The Lessons of War’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art. Vol. I No.2, February 1940 (Orwell’s first appearance in Horizon)

‘Boys’ Weeklies’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. I No.3, March 1940

‘Secret Service’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. I No.4, April 1940

Frank Richards, ‘A Reply to George Orwell’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. I No.5, May 1940

‘Jail Journey’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. I No.6, June 1940

Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. I No.7, July 1940

‘Poltergeists’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. II, No.9, September 1940

‘The Ruling Class’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Vol. II, No.12, December 1940

‘Home Guard for Victory’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume III, No. 15, March 1941

‘Wells, Hitler and the World State’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume IV, No.20, August 1941

‘The Art of Donald McGill’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume IV, No.21, September 1941

‘Why Not War Writers? A Manifesto’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume IV, No.22, October 1941

‘Anonymous response to Why Not War Writers?’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art. Volume IV, No.24, December 1941

‘Rudyard Kipling’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume V, No. 26, February 1942

‘The Sword and the Sickle’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume VI, No. 31, July 1942

The Development of William Butler Yeats’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume VII, No. 37, January 1943

Beggar my Neighbour’ (review), Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume VIII, No. 45, September 1943

‘Reply from author of Beggar my Neighbour’Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume VIII, No. 47, November 1943

‘Raffles and Miss Blandish’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume X, No. 58, October 1944

‘Politics and the English Language’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume XIII, No. 76, April 1946

‘Questionnaire: The Cost of Letters’, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume XIV, No. 81, September 1946

Books of 1947′ (review) Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, Volume XVI, No. 96, December 1947

New Republic

‘Confessions of a Book Reviewer’New Republic, August 5, 1946 (originally published in Tribune 3 May, 1946)

‘It Looks Different from Abroad’New Republic December 2, 1946

Polemic: A Magazine of Philosophy, Psychology & Aesthetics

‘Notes on Nationalism’ was Orwell’s first article for Polemic, a short-lived journal (1945-1947) edited by Humphrey Slater and owned by the Australian ex-communist, Rodney Phillips (who sold Orwell a Luger when he was feeling paranoid, after the publication of Animal Farm, about Russian spies trying to assassinate him). On 3 July 1945, Orwell signed a contract for several more articles. It is interesting to note that the witness to Phillips’s signature was Celia Kirwan, the twin of Arthur Koestler’s wife, Mamaine. Kirwan, who rejected Orwell’s proposal of marriage, was to infamously extract a list of notable writers and other people he considered to be unsuitable as possible writers for the anti-communist propaganda activities of the Information Research Department.

‘The Prevention of Literature’, Polemic. No. 2. January 1946. pp. 4-13.

‘Second Thoughts on James Burnham’, Polemic No. 3, May 1946

‘Politics versus Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels’, Polemic, No. 5, September-October 1946

Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool, Polemic. No. 7. March 1947. pp. 2-17.

Partisan Review

Partisan Review (1934-2003) was an influential American left-wing literary journal first published, by the Communist John Reed Club of New York, in 1934. By the end of the decade it had become more literary and politically anti-Stalinist. In late 1940 Desmond Hawkins suggested to the editors that Orwell, his friend and colleague at the BBC, should replace him writing the “London Letter”. Orwell wrote for the journal from early 1941, until a few months before he died. ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’ was published in the journal posthumously in 1952. The editor and one of the founders, William Phillips (1907-2002), wrote astutely about Orwell in 1984:

“Perhaps the most impressive English writer was George Orwell, whom I saw on a subsequent trip, in a hospital, shortly before he died. He had just received a Partisan Review award of a thousand dollars. I was afraid I was tiring him, but he wanted to talk, and I stayed for a couple of hours. Perhaps I was romanticising a dying figure and reading the moral and intellectual dimensions of his writing into his person, but what struck me was the self-possession, the lack of self-pity, and the impression of utter seriousness, without any of the bright conversation one associated with men of letters in London. He was extraordinarily well informed, and even then, evidently at the end of his life, he wanted to know about everything going on in literature and politics. This is not the place to reassess his work, but it should be noted that the recent questions that have been raised about Orwell’s work stem largely from the reaction of the new left to his strong anti-Communism.”
A Partisan View: Five Decades of the Literary Life, pp. 209-210

‘London Letter’, Partisan Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, March-April 1941

‘London Letter’, Partisan Review, Vol 8, No. 4, July-August 1941

‘London Letter”’ Partisan Review, Vol. 8, No. 6, November-December 1941

‘Nicholas Moore vs. George Orwell’, Partisan Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, January-February 1942

‘The British Crisis’, Partisan Review, Vol. 9, No. 4, July-August 1942

‘London Letter’, Partisan Review, Vol. 9, Number 6 November-December 1942

‘A Letter from England’, Partisan Review, Vol. 10, No. 2, March-April 1943

‘The Situation in Britain’, Partisan Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, July-August 1943

‘London Letter’, Partisan Review, Vol. 12, No. 4, 1945

‘Reflections on Gandhi’, Partisan Review, Vol. 16, No.1, January 1949

‘Such, Such Were The Joys’, Partisan Review, Vol. 19, No.5, September-October 1952

World Review

‘1984 and Newspeak’, World Review, May 1949

‘Unpublished Notebooks’, World Review, June 1950


‘Democracy in the British Army’ (review), The Left Forum No.36, September, Independent Labour Party, 1939. 34pp.

‘What Do Girls and Boys Read’, Life and Letters Today, Volume 26 Number 35, The Brendin Publishing Company, 1940

‘The Proletarian Writer’, The Listener, BBC, December 19th, 1940, Vol XXIV, No 623, pp 877-884.

‘T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets’ (review), Poetry London, Volume 2, No. 7. October-November, 1942. pp. 64, (This issue was dedicated to Eliot and Orwell reviewed the first three of Eliot’s Four Quartets (Burnt Norton, East Coker and The Dry Salvages pages 56-59)

‘In Defence of P. G. Wodehouse,’ The Windmill. June 1945, Volume 1, Number 2

‘Why I Write’Gangrel, Number 4, Summer 1946, Pick, J.B. (editor) Neill, Charles (associate editor)

‘How the Poor Die’, Now, Volume 6, London: G. Woodcock And Freedom Press, 1946. 72pp. (Collected all 16 issues of NOW which was a literary revue periodical published by Freedom Press sporadically from Easter 1940 through August 1947 and edited by George Woodcock).

‘The Heart of the Matter’ (review), The New Yorker, July 17, 1948

‘Thirty Five Years Hence’ and ‘Orwell’s Strange World of 1984’, Life, July 4, 1949, pp. 18, 78-86.


Blair, E.A.,John Galsworthy’, Monde, Numero 42, 23rd March, 1929 (recently procured in Paris)

Der Monat

Orwell, George, 1984Der Monat. Jg. 2, 1949, Nr. 14. (German serialised translation of 1984 in The Month. Vol. 2, 1949, No. 14).

Orwell, George, 1984Der Monat. Jg. 2, 1949, Nr. 15. (German serialised translation of 1984 in The Month. Vol. 2, 1949, No. 15)

Orwell, George, 1984Der Monat. Jg. 2, 1950, Nr. 16. (German serialised translation of 1984 in The Month. Vol. 2, 1950, No. 16)

Orwell, George, 1984Der Monat. Jg. 2, 1950, Nr. 17. (German serialised translation of 1984 in The Month. Vol. 2, 1950, No. 17)

Orwell, George, 1984Der Monat. Jg. 2, 1950, Nr. 18. (German serialised translation of 1984 in The Month. Vol. 2, 1950, No. 18)

NOTE: Der Monat was founded by Melvin J. Lasky, an American journalist, intellectual, and member of the anti-Communist left.

On Orwell

Auden, WH; Isherwood, Christopher, ‘Young British Writers – on the Way Up’Vogue, August, 15, 1939

Fen , Elisaveta, ‘George Orwell’s First Wife”, The Twentieth Century. August 1960 (12-page article)

Fyvel, T.R., ‘A Case For George Orwell?’ Twentieth Century, 1956, 252-259pp.  (Disbound. 8 pages separated from the original magazine)

Fyvel. T.R., “George Orwell and Eric Blair: Glimpses of a Dual Life”, Encounter, Vol. XIII, No. 1, July, 1959, pp. 60-65

Heppenstall, Rayner, ‘The Shooting Stick”’ Twentieth Century, April 1955, No. 938, p. 370.

Hoggart, Richard, “Orwell and the Biographer’s Art”, The Listener, 27th November, 1980

Orwell, George, “Some Letters”, Encounter, Vol XVIII No. 1, January, 1962, pp. 55-65

Powell, Anthony, “George Orwell: A Memoir”, Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 220, October 1967, pp 62-68

Symons, Julian, ‘George Orwell, a Reminiscence’, The London Magazine: A Monthly Review of Literature, London September 1963, Vol. 3, Number 6

‘George Gissing Novels’, The London Magazine: A Monthly Review of Literature, London, 1960, (Disbound. 8 pages separated from the original magazine)

Walter, Nicolas, “George Orwell: an accident in society”, Anarchy: A Journal of Anarchist Ideas. No. 8, October 1961, London: Freedom Press pp 225-256

Willison, Ian, ‘Orwell’s Bad Good Books’, Twentieth Century, 1955, 354-66pp. (Disbound. 12 pages separated from the original magazine)