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In Front of Your Nose: 1945-1950 (The Collected Essays, Journalism & Letters, Vol. 4) , George Orwell

Another of my 'old goodreads' reviews:
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Having a fever gave me the perfect excuse to spend entire yesterday's afternoon reading this book. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to finish it. This is the fourth volume of The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell(1945-1950) and it must be the final one because he did die in 1950.

How frustrating that my laptop turned down last night just as I was finishing the review for this!

What I like about Orwell is that he is what I call an active intellectual (and even though I'm pretty sure that such an expression doesn't exist, in my mind it means somebody who thinks with his own head.) 

It is not that I always agree with him. I've gained an impression that he is obsessed with the catholic church to the point it actually affects his reasoning. (Is it me or does he have a touch of catholic phobia? I'm not talking about his negative reviews on catholic writers or that "one cannot be a catholic and a grown- up" statement. After all everyone should be able to have an option about any religion without being considered an offender. One should be able to say I think this religion is silly and that is that. However, Orwell's constant mentioning of the catholic church in every possible political context and attributing it with political power that is doesn't (and cannot) have seem to be out of place. One would conclude that the catholic church rules the world. That just doesn't seem to make any sense. All religion have an amount of political power but I don't think that it can be said for any religion that it holds all political power. )


Nevertheless, I do think he is the best essayist of his age. In particular, I don't know anyone who has written so sensibly on political matters and put things so clearly.


About 600 pages (my edition) provides us with some of his best writing and about a three hundred (my estimation I haven't actually counted them) letters show much of his personal life. It is touching how he managed to think and work till the very end. 


Now, perhaps an average reader will not want to read all of it. So, here is my list of essays that I (for whatever reason) think you shouldn't miss:

V.I. E (very important essays):

" Revenge is Sour"
" What is Science"
" Good bad books"
" Freedom of the Park"
" The Sporting Spirit"
" The Prevention of Literature"
"Review of We by E.I. Zamyatin"
" Pleasure Spots"
"Politics vs Literature: An examination of Gulliver's Travels"
" How the Poor Die"
"Burnham's View of the Contemporary World Struggle"
"Review of the The Soul of Man under Socialism"
" Review of Potrait of an Antisemite by Jean-Paul Sartre"
"Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool"
" Reflections of Gangi"
" Conrad's Place and Rank in English Letters"
" The Question of the Pound Award"
" Such, Such were the Joys"

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