For the twenty-month period of this volume, there are reproduced 123 book, 38 theatre, and 43 film reviews. Inside the Whale, Orwell's first collection of essays, and The Lion and the Unicorn- Socialism and the English Genius are reprinted here. Later in that year he gave a series of broadcasts on literary criticism, the texts of which are reproduced. Throughout this period Orwell kept a wartime diary; its entries are here printed chronologically with his reviews, essays, and letters and it is here that Orwell makes the first reference to his wish to live on a Hebridean island. It was in 1941 that Orwell began his series of 'London Letters' for Partisan Review. The volume also includes Orwell's lecture notes for instructing members of his Home Guard platoon.
Eric Arthur Blair - better known as George Orwell - was born on 25 June 1903 in Bengal. He was educated at Eton and then served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. He lived in Paris for two years, and then returned to England where he worked as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant. He fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War and was wounded in the throat. During the Second World War he served as Talks Producer for the Indian Service of the BBC and then joined Tribune as its literary editor. He died in London in January 1950.