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George at 100

The last job for Orwell biographers is to examine his faults and catalogue his enemies. But it only serves to confirm his virtues

His shadow still lengthens. Writing in Prospect on the 50th anniversary of Orwell’s death, I noted how eerily he had dominated the 20th century, the first half of which was his lifetime, the second half still more the “age of Orwell,” overshadowed by his memory. This June’s centenary of his birth finds him as much with us as ever. His collected works—every scrap of them—were published several years ago in a 20-volume edition; he is endlessly invoked, not least by those for and against recent military actions; he was apostrophised in Christopher Hitchens’s polemic Orwell’s Victory; he was chosen by…

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