The Road to Wigan Pier
In the 1930s Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. He went beyond his assignment to investigate the employed as well-”to see the most typical section of the English working class.” Foreword by Victor Gollancz.
The Road to Wigan Pier & 1984: A Parallel Analysis
Commissioned fortuitously in the period when Socialism was on the retreat and Fascism on the rise, Orwell must already have begun to glimpse the world which he was to envision with vigorous clarity in ‘1984’. This review is a dual review then, of ‘1984’ and of ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’.
Written ostensibly as a documentary-report on the life of the working classes in the industrial towns of england, Orwell uses his reportage to investigate two c ...more
Back in the days when I hung out in that other dimension called usenet, I wrote several *FAQS* for alt.books.george-orwell (alas, now dead, a repository for villainous spam - RIP):
Q & A with George Orwell:
B: Will you tell us about the Brookers, the people with whom you stayed for a while in Wigan?
O: Of course - mind if I smoke? - Mrs Brooker was too ill to do anything except eat stupendous meals, and Mr Brooker was a dark, small-boned, sour, Irish-looking man, and ...more
The first part is a visit to the coal-mining areas up north, and a chronicling of the miners' lives. It's reminiscent of Engels' Conditions of the English Working Class, but with less statistics and more coal mining, and the social conditions of the miners themselves. Here, he ha ...more
Orwell was commissioned to write this book by his publisher Victor Gollancz, a campaigner for left-wing causes and the founder of the Left Book Club. It comprises two journeys. The first finds Orwell in investigative journalist mode, as he embarks on a physical journey amongst industrial workers in the economically depressed north of England, investigating and describing the causes and symptoms of poverty. The second is a journey of the mind, which takes the form of a long essay in which Orwell ...more
The Road To Wigan Pier was amongst the best books I've read this year. The route established by Orwell is more sinuous than expected. He examines a lodging house and then travels to the pits themselves. He finds valor in those who toil. He doesn't patronize.
He ponders the unemployment issue in England. He busts myths. He unrolls lengths of statistics. He the ...more
To read again.
That being said, I like Orwell's journalistic accounts (like this one and Burmese Days), I like his writing style as the crisp prose of a journalist shines through and I like his commitment to showing how, even in a fairly well-off society like Britain, there have always been people who are forgotten about.
It's not all about the ...more
I drove by night through the 215 milestones between the beginning and the end of this trip.
I have just parked for a few minutes halfway on the blank space between part I and part II. I turned off the engine and the headlights, had a little nap, restarted and drove straight to the very last page.
I should have not been in a hurry. And yet I couldn't go any slower. Curiosity pushed me to run, to accelerate. And in that speed some details faded away, w ...more
breakfast table I decided to leave'.
- importance of coal at that time: 'In order that Hitler may march the goose-step, that the Pope may denounce Bolshevism, that the cricket crowds may assemble at Lords, that the poets may scratch one another’s backs, coal has got to be forthcoming'.
- Orwell describes the extreme physical conditions that have to be withstood by a miner and concedes that 'by no conceiva ...more
Before I discuss my thoughts on the book I want to mention how much I enjoy Orwell's writing style. In his essay Politics and the English Language ...more
The first half of the book sees Orwell traveling through industrial Northern Britain, detailing and commenting on the working-class life that he comes across, beginning with his experiences ...more
You shouldn't complain about your job, unless of course you are a coal miner.
Peaked an interest in better understanding the political climate between world war 1 and 2, especially the appeal of fascism. Today it seems clearly evil, but back then there were a lot of otherwise sensible people buying in. I would like to learn more about the context that lead to this.
It was the first section of the book that really appealed to me. Orwell had a real gift in painting a picture with his words of the scenes and situations in which he found himself ...more
He ended up spending much time amongst the working class, and the result of that w ...more
The Road to Wigan Pier, like Down and Out in Paris and London, is a book of two halves. The first half depicts Orwell’s experiences travelling aro ...more
It's a brilliant book/essay, oh Orwell I love you more day (book) by day (book). Basically the first part he explains his experience in the Northern part of England, living with the coal miners (and the unemployed), going down the mines and so on. Plus, giving a handful of statistics about their precarious living standards (also, my edition came with a dozen of pictures taken by him at the time). He steadily describes the appalling lives of more than 20 million people in England during the ...more
And the second half (where a throwaway chapter or two can also be found) is quite brutal on the 19 ...more
The second half - reads like some giant drunken ramble. Some parts were fascinating, like Orwell talking about what was going on in his life when he did the things he wrote about in Burmese Days and Down and Out in Paris and London. There were a couple of other parts that held my attention that I forget, and it was interesting to read about his take on socialism too. Other than that the second h ...more
|Bright Young Things: September 2012 - The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell||10||33||Sep 14, 2012 04:34PM|
Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary ed ...more