History 489 Reading Seminar: George Orwell and the 20th Century

Description of the Course: George Orwell (1903-1950) is most widely known in the United States as the author of Animal Farm and 1984. However, in addition to writing a number of novels, Orwell was an accomplished reporter, essayist, and reviewer. Regardless of format, almost all of Orwell's works dealt with political problems and social criticism. Living through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the beginning of the Cold War, Orwell had to engage with some of the most important issues that emerged during the twentieth century. Many of these issues remain relevant in our own time, namely the struggle between peace and war, wealth and poverty, freedom and tyranny, In this seminar, we will read about the issues most dear to Orwell, placing them in their historical context and relating them to Orwell's own particular experiences. We will read a biography of Orwell before surveying some of his best or most interesting works. These include short stories like "Killing an Elephant" (1936), essays such as "Politics and the English Language" (1946), reportage, including Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), and his lesser-known novels like Coming up for Air (1939). Such works are interesting in their own right, but they will also give us insight into his most influential works, Animal Farm and 1984. Through your encounter with an interesting and provocative mind like Orwell's, you will finish this course with a better understanding of the great dilemmas of the twentieth century-many of which remain with us today.

Class Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

This course is taught by: Professor Hugh Dubrulle

Saint Anselm College, a Benedictine, Catholic, Liberal Arts College
100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, New Hampshire 03102

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Copyrighted by the History Department, Saint Anselm College, 2006.