The publication of the 20-volume Complete Works of George Orwell in 1998 offered readers a then-definitive collection of the many writings of this great author. Nearly everything he wrote was printed in its pages, with notes and explanations provided by the editor, Peter Davison, that made it an indispensable resource for fans of Orwell. Since then, however, new items has been brought to Davison’s attention, items which he is presenting in this follow-up volume.
The material is divided into five sections: correspondence between Orwell and Rene-Noel Raimbault (the French translator of Down and Out in Paris and London), letters between Orwell’s first wife Eileen and her friend Norah Myles, new information about Orwell’s friend George Kopp, summaries of Orwell’s letters to Brenda Salkend (which are still unreleased but were utilized by Gordon Bowker in his recent biography of the author), a collection of other letters from other sources, and additional articles and supplementary material, including the notorious list of suspected Communists and fellow-travelers that Orwell prepared before his death. Notes are provided for all of these, as are corrections to errata contained in the earlier 20-volume set.
Though individually relatively insignificant, combined the new material is a treasure trove of detail about the life and personality of this fascinating author. Containing items such as the C. D. Darlington correspondence (which offers some idea as to when Orwell began work on Nineteen Eighty-Four) it is a informative guide to better understanding the man and his work, one supplemented by Davison’s editing, which continues the high standards set in the Collected Works. This is a must-have volume for owners of the earlier collection, and an interesting read for anyone interested in Orwell and his works.