Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays
Essays by the author of 1984 on topics from “remembrances of working in a bookshop [to] recollections of fighting in the Spanish Civil War” (Publishers Weekly).
George Orwell was first and foremost an essayist, producing throughout his life an extraordinary array of short nonfiction that reflected—and illuminated—the fraught times in which he lived. “As soon as he began to write something,” comments George Packer in his foreword, “it was as natural for Orwell to propose, generalize, qualify, argue, judge—in short, to think—as it was for Yeats to versify or Dickens to invent.”
Facing Unpleasant Facts charts Orwell’s development as a master of the narrative-essay form and unites such classics as “Shooting an Elephant” with lesser-known journalism and passages from his wartime diary. Whether detailing the horrors of Orwell’s boyhood in an English boarding school or bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the Spanish Civil War, these essays weave together the personal and the political in an unmistakable style that is at once plainspoken and brilliantly complex.
“Best known for his late-career classics Animal Farm and 1984, George Orwell—who used his given name, Eric Blair, in the earliest pieces of this collection aimed at the aficionado as well as the general reader—was above all a polemicist of the first rank. Organized chronologically, from 1931 through the late 1940s, these in-your-face writings showcase the power of this literary form.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Six tall Indian warders were guarding him and getting him ready for the gallows.
Two of them stood by with rifles and fixed bayonets, while the others handcuffed
him, passed a chain through his handcuffs and fixed it to their belts, and lashed ...
As soon as I saw the dead man I sent an orderly to a friend's house nearby to
borrow an elephant rifle. I had already sent back the pony, not wanting it to go
mad with fright and throw me if it smelled the elephant. The orderly came back in
a few ...
They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily
worth watching. And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant
after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two ...
I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act
like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite
things. To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at
I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would
sink at every step. If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about
as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller. But even then I was not thinking
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - dypaloh - LibraryThing
About his tramping days, George Orwell tells us in the opening essay of Facing Unpleasant Facts, “Already, at eight o’clock in the morning, we were bored…There was nothing to talk about except the ... Read full review
FACING UNPLEASANT FACTS: Narrative EssaysUser Review - Kirkus
The first of two volumes of the British author's essays, compiled by journalist George Packer.Orwell (1903-50) was no Flaubert closeted in aesthetic concentration. He was a vigorous participant in the ... Read full review
Revenge Is Sour
The Case for the Open Fire
The Sporting Spirit
In Defence of English Cooking
A Nice Cup of Tea
The Moon Under Water
In Front of Your Nose
Some Thoughts on the Common Toad
England Your England
Dear Doktor Goebbels Your British Friends are Feeding Fine
Looking Back on the Spanish War
As I Please 1
As I Please 2
As I Please 3
As I Please 16
A Good Word for the Vicar of Bray
Why I Write
How the Poor Die
Such Such Were the Joys