Orwell: The New Life

Pegasus. May 2023. 608p. ISBN 9781639364510. $39.95. BIOG
In 2003, Taylor’s biography of George Orwell (Orwell: The Life) was published to critical acclaim. Twenty years later, he has mined newly available material on Orwell to thoroughly update that earlier work. In 2012 and 2013, Orwell’s diaries and letters were published, and Taylor uses those primary documents liberally. He also taps into new material by and about some of Orwell’s contemporaries. There’s a detailed account of Orwell’s wedding to Sonia Brownell at the University College Hospital in London on October 13, 1949; Orwell was bedridden with tuberculosis and died 100 days later. Their wedding was only briefly mentioned near the end of Taylor’s previous book. In this latest biography, there is a section called “Orwell and His World,” which discusses Orwell’s personal characteristics, ill health, and friendships, also drawing from new material. Missing, however, from this new version is the short appendix “Orwell and His Publisher,” but Taylor writes meticulous notes on his sources, which include all of the significant works written about Orwell since 2003. This book ranks as the new definitive work on Orwell.
VERDICT A useful introduction for readers new to Orwell and also illuminating for those who thought they knew everything about him.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing