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St George’s shroud

In the 50 years since his death, Orwell has become England's secular saint.

Fifty years after his death, George Orwell looms larger than ever. His aura has never been greater, nor his name invoked more often. There is a strange symmetry about his life, death and legacy. His lifetime was almost exactly covered by the first half of the 20th century: he was born in June 1903 and died in January 1950. But it’s the second half of the century which has been “the age of Orwell,” with his shadow lengthening all the time. He captivates us and haunts us. He is cited or prayed in aid by politicians and polemicists on diametrically…

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