THE COMPLETE WORKS. I. Down and Out in Paris and London; II. Burmese Days; III. A Clergyman's Daughter; IV. Keep the Aspidistra Flying; V. The Road to Wigan Pier; VI. Homage to Catalonia; VII. Coming Up for Air; VIII. Animal Farm; IX. Nineteen Eighty-Four; X. A Kind of Compulsion (1903-36); XI. Facing Unpleasant Facts (1937-39); XII. A Patriot After All (1940-41); XIII. All Propaganda is Lies (1941-42); XIV. Keeping Our Little Corner Clean (1942-43); XV. Two Wasted Years (1943); XVI. I Have Tried to Tell the Truth (1943-44); XVII. I Belong to the Left (1945); XVIII. Smothered Under Journalism (1946); XIX. It is W

First editions, first printings of the complete 20 volume uniform set (Vols. I-IX were previously issued in 1986-7). Original blue cloth lettered in silver to spines, in the dustwrappers designed by Ekhorn/Gray, each volume with a bound-in ribbon bookmark. A fine set, presenting as unread, the bindings square and firm, the contents clean throughout. The unclipped dustwrappers are very near fine (barring the occasional nick and touch of rubbing), except for Vol. IX, which is a little rubbed to edges and extremities with a closed tear (c. 6 cm) to upper half of the rear spine fold. A wonderful example of this magnificent, and scarce, set.

Peter Davison's monumental edition of Orwell's complete works is, even by the standard of editorial undertakings on this scale, a labour of love, and of sheer persistence in the face of serial obstacles that might have deterred anyone less tenacious. In a 2012 article, he recounted the vicissitudes that beset the project. The original plan to publish freshly edited versions of Orwell's nine books in time for publication in 1984 ("a new but intriguing kind of anniversary celebration") had, "owing to disastrous delays" only materialised in 1986 and then had to be pulped, the printer having used an uncorrected version of Davison's text. Despite many further headaches (including a sextuple heart bypass and Secker and Warburg changing hands seven times) and precarious financial circumstances, Davison, with the assistance of his wife Shelia, and Ian Angus, set about collecting, editing and annotating everything Orwell wrote, including letters, articles, reviews, lecture notes, as well as hundreds of BBC broadcasts. Angus, formerly Librarian and Keeper of the Orwell Archive at University College London, had earlier edited (with Sonia Orwell) the 1968 four-volume set of Orwell's 'Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters', an edition which became the starting point for Vols. X to XX of this later edition. A huge bibliographic undertaking, Davison soon discovered that all previous and current editions of Orwell were, to a greater or lesser extent, unreliable. The new edition attempts to restore the author's original intentions. "This is no simple reprint with a few typographical errors corrected", he writes in the general introduction. "It was realised from early on that the textual position was complex and as the history of the texts was recovered and the variations in readings realised, it became apparent that a new edition without explanation would prove confusing". Each volume is provided with textual notes and a list of readings and variants. In his review (The Observer, 23 August, 1998), Paul Foot wrote of the edition that "the volumes sing with Orwell's irresistible writing style. Prose, he said, should be like a window pane, so you can see right through it. Every letter, every broadcast, even every diary entry is written clearly, sprinkled everywhere with wit, surprise and hope".

Stock code: 24891


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