What Do I Read Next?
The essay ‘‘Such, Such were the Joys . . .’’ is an autobiographical account of Orwell’s years in the bleak and unsympathetic environment of an English boarding school. This essay is included in George Orwell: A Collection of Essays, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1981.
Orwell’s essay ‘‘England Your England,’’ written during the Blitz (the German saturation bombing campaign of London in 1941), is an assessment of British character in its moment of greatest trial. See George Orwell: A Collection of Essays, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1981.
In 1939, Orwell wrote an essay called ‘‘Boy’s Weeklies,’’ which devotes itself with gusto and approval to the slew of pulp magazines which, in the first half of the twentieth century, especially catered to an audience of literate adolescent males. Orwell had himself been a reader of the weeklies. See George Orwell: A Collection of Essays, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1981.
In ‘‘Reflections on Gandhi’’ (1949), another essay, Orwell returns to the topic of the British Empire, which he earlier treated in ‘‘Shooting an Elephant,’’ to which the meditation on Gandhi is therefore an important companion piece. See George Orwell: A Collection of Essays, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1981.
Michael Shelden’s Orwell: The Authorized Biography is an extremely well researched and lively account of Orwell’s life and career. Shelden devotes much interesting discussion to the India- Burma period. New York: Harper Collins. 1991.
A Passage to India (1924) by E. M. Forster is often considered the preeminent novel of English colonialism in India. It is commended for a greater degree of insight into Indian culture than is usually attained by English writers.
The 1975 novel Heat and Dust, by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, also deals with the experiences of the English in India. In the first part of this narrative, the lonely wife of an English colonial officer enters into an affair with a wealthy Indian man. Two generations later, her granddaughter travels to India and retraces her ancestor’s steps.
‘‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,’’ by Ernest Hemingway. This 1936 short story is set in Africa and deals with a wealthy couple on safari. Francis Macomber panics during a lion hunt, and his contemptuous wife spends the night with their paid guide. The next day Macomber stands his ground while shooting at a charging buffalo, but is shot and killed by his wife.