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Australian Books

The enduring Orwell

1 July 2023

9:00 AM

1 July 2023

9:00 AM

Orwell: The New Life D.J. Taylor

Constable, pp.496, $34.99

One of the things I most enjoy about George Orwell is his love of tobacco. It was essential to him all his life, even near the end when his lungs were failing (Nineteen Eighty-Four was typed up on Jura in a bedroom hazy with cigarette smoke). My preferred instance of this love, however, is his lament in Homage to Catalonia that, on the frontlines of the Spanish Civil War, ‘[t]he shortage of tobacco was the worst of all’ – not, you note, the shortages of food and clothes (or the threat of Fascist snipers).

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