Bookmarks: Orwell and good to be a bit of a philanderer

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Bookmarks: Orwell and good to be a bit of a philanderer

A fortnightly look at books, writers, and reviews

Andrew Donaldson

On Tuesday we mark the 70th anniversary of the death of George Orwell. It seems sad that the occasion should be marked chiefly by the disclosure that the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four should have had a bit of a private life.

The Times of London reports that a recently-discovered batch of letters written by the author reveal that romantic affairs started by Orwell (real name Eric Blair) on the eve of his literary fame continued until after his marriage in 1949.

The letters, written to one of Orwell’s early lovers and confidantes, Brenda Salkeld, had been bought by the author’s son, Richard Blair, to hand over to the George Orwell Archive at University College London. In one letter, Orwell writes of his “humiliation” at Salkeld’s rejection of him and he had to endure it as he was “long-suffering ... it must be in the nature of the male”...

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