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Why I Write (Penguin Great Ideas)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,318 ratings  ·  693 reviews

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whos

Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published October 30th 2014 by Penguin (first published 1946)
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Part 56 in the "Another autobiographical review that nobody asked for!"-series.

Why I Review

It was already very late in my boyhood, at thirty years old, when I considered writing book reviews. Being the man of action that I am, which is to say a lazy bum, it was almost to my own surprise that this innocent consideration promptly turned itself into virulent spasms across the keyboard, with my first contributions on Goodreads as the very unfortunate result. Thankfully my friends list at the time only con/>Why
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do they know of Orwell who only Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four know?
-Irving Howe

Why do one write? What is the urgency to write or what is the need to write anything at all? Does one actually have control what one is writing or there is some profound force which influences one’s consciousness or sub-consciousness to do so. Perhaps one writes to get rid of tribulations of life going in his/ her head. For, there must be some way to disburse these anxious ordeals; and what better way it could be than to write. We
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Orwell fans and people who like political history
Sometimes it would be nice to get a little closer to the author of your favourite books. See things a little more from their perspective and, you know, really get inside their heads. There are various approaches which can be taken in order to achieve this. Isabelle Arundell was quite a big fan of the work produced by writer, explorer and all round fantasy-adventurer Richard Burton. She achieved closeness by monitoring his globe trotting adventures, hanging out in part of London which he frequent ...more
Dannii Elle
This is a varied group of essays of equally fascinating proportions. Contrary to what the title led me to believe, not all of these centre around writing and this, instead, was only the title of the first essay in this collection of four.

The first and last essays, Why I Write and Politics and the English Language (of which I have a full review here) were both my particular favourites and the ones that dealt with purely the art of writing. I felt I learned a lot from both of these and are
⋅ʚ kit ɞ⋅
George Orwell is a genius and I hope to read more of his works soon.
Ivana Books Are Magic
There are a few essays in this book, most of them I read before. However, a rereading was welcome, because there was only one essay that I had remembered quite well - Politics And the English Language. I read that one ages ago, when I was still a student. I must admit that Politics And the English Language is still one of my favourite essays by Orwell. It is simply brilliant. If there was a way to do it, I would force everyone to read it. Anyway, today I will review only one essay and that will ...more
To understand why this book means to me as much as it does, it is important to do what Orwell does in the beginning of this book - go back to my childhood. When I was eleven years old, and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had one answer: "I don't know what I want to do, but I know I'll never work in politics." Oh, how wrong I was!

A combination of having to closely follow elections because my grandfather did, and watching Aaron Sorkin shows, primarily, however, pi
Mark Donnelly
Each one of us has to decide what we want to do with the days that unfold, way too quickly. Orwell's penmanship cuts through the wordiness that only a man that knows what he wanted, where he was at, and where he wanted to go could achieve.

As a writer myself, I am on a journey where I also knew with a lighting-bolt shift in consciousness at 31 years of age that I was to write. And so my eyes still in a soft thrill, when I find a writer that I can learn from, to understand me, my craft
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, 2015
This is a short little book containing a few of Orwell's writings. These are as follows: A Hanging (1931), The Lion and the Unicorn (1940), Politics and the English Language (1946), and Why I write (1946).

The Lion and the Unicorn is the longest essay by quite some distance, and deals with wartime Britain and how Orwell perceives the British "family," its politics, its weaknesses, flaws, and what the state of the nation is in itself, and what role Britain plays in the war. It begins, "As I write, highly civilized human beings are f"As
Tanya Bansal
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The power of a pen and a mind unapologetically free.

It had been long since I read something by Orwell and I somehow craved for an honest prose.

Such an encounter with Orwell was like sitting with him face to face and letting him describe all he thought while writing his masterpieces. A much needed confrontation with a writer as raw as him.

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, 'I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose,
Published in 1946, Why I Write is one of Orwell's better known essays. It's really a mini-biography because he talks about his motivations and thought processes relating to his writing at the various stages of his life. He lists political motivation as the most important aspect of writing a novel, for him anyway. He believes that all novels are somewhat political in nature. Also sheer egoism is motivational, the need to be successful, to be remembered. That's just part of it. It's provides an i ...more
Biblio Curious
Thinkers, Writers, Readers, Teachers and Politicians should read this. And everyone else who says reflecting on our language is important. George Orwell's writing in this book is a little puffed-up but he gets the reader thinking.

The first and last chapters are the best. The middle bits are a little politica but still interesting. (I don't have a lot of political knowledge but I read the middle bits. And found them interesting and a bit dry at times.)

This is definitely a book i want
Why I Read (and Why you probably should)

A Collection of four revolutionary essays written by Orwell between 1931 to 1946. Ideas spilled out by the author is very essential for leading a better way of not only politics but everything around it.

Why I Write (1946) - Memoir of his early days aspiring to become writer, dropping it during the 20s and rising again for the purpose. Very short and brief essay on why he wrote and maybe why all write.

The Lion and the Uni
This is the non-fiction Orwell, the man who insists that, in our world, every gesture is a political gesture, every thought is a political one. Great little collection of four of his essays. Thoroughly enjoyed.
Shalini Sinha
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, essay, writing
Orwell can do wonders with merely 4 pages. Whenever I read him be it 1984 or just a short essay, it invokes a great deal of mixed emotions.

Why I write is a short essay on Orwell’s writing journey which started at an early age of 4 or 5. I recommend it to anyone who has read anything by Orwell, especially if found any of Orwell’s works unlikable. This essay would give you great insights into why he wrote what he wrote and the circumstances that made him the Orwell.

Being the middle ch
Erica Zahn
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall rating: 4.5 stars.

As much as I love the Penguin Great Minds Collection, I feel the title here is a little misleading – only the first 10 pages out of 120 are the ‘Why I Write’ essay, so about 8% of the book. As a result, I’ll be reviewing the four essays individually, since I feel that’s the most precise approach (and because it’s difficult to assess essays on such different subjects as a collected whole).

Why I Write ★★★★

“So long as I remain alive and well I sha/>“So/>
George Orwell explains his main motivations for writing in these four essays, which are included in the Penguin Great Ideas box set. Basically, he always knew that he would become a writer and his life experiences shaped him, all stemming from when he lived in Burma and saw the injustices of the Imperial Administration that he served as a policeman under. This led George Orwell to become a Socialist, or rather a Democratic Socialist and his journalism exposes the injustices of the system that he ...more
Esther | braveliteraryworld
- Orwell's thoughts on the political side of writing.

- It's Orwell, so the writing is superb.
- The last chapter on writing
- His thoughts on geopolitics were very interesting and informative.

- Thinks that India should not be independent.
- Wish he spent more time on the writing process.
- Felt like I understood what he was saying but didn't know enough to agree/disagree.
Clemlucian (🏳️‍🌈the villain's quest)
“In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues....”

Instagram | blog

Interesting but not mindblowing. I didn't learn anything new.
Henry Manampiring
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English people or those with interest in political language
A collection of essays from the guy invented 'doublespeak', 'groupthink', 'Big Brother', whose own name is immortalized into the English language ('Orwellian').

Roughly 80% of the book is about the English people and its political dynamics during WWII. Unless you have interest in the subject AND have the slightest familiarity with the histirical context, you will waste your time.

The last 20% of the book is actually rare gem. One is Orwell's eye-witness account of a hanging
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
Orwell discusses his own personal need ways to to write, and he also talk about politics.
this book contain 4 essays that Orwell wrote during his life.

the one with the title "A Hanging": This rather misplaced essay was taken from his time in Burma. Orwell witnesses a hanging and discusses the rather unusually casual attitude of the hangmen.
it was the best one for me!

the last essay "Politics and the English Language: This brief essay attacks writers for being lazy by
Sarah Canavan
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: creative minds.
i thought this was really interesting. i love the way that orwell lists everything out before he starts to really get to his point. i feel thats the way that most logical thoughts form anyway. i think he makes a really strong argument for why people do the things they do, be it writing or not. how they grow up and where they find the most affirmation. his numbered reasons for writing really remind me of why any human would have motivation to do anything creative really. sometimes the fear of any ...more
Hossein Eskandari
It is a short book, but still, I had to skim through it and jump over some lines to get to the finish line.
But finishing it, I felt some new ideas forming in my mind.
The second chapter "The lion and the Unicorn" was too long and boring to me. but for some unknown reason the following part shouted out to me loud and clear:

"Patriotism has nothing to do with Conservatism. It is actually the opposite of Conservatism, since it is a devotion to something that is always changing
Apr 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, non-fiction
There are several points I'd like to bring across in this review, which will be rather brief due to the fact that there isn't anything interesting in this book that I could elaborate on or gush about.

1) The title is misleading. Neither does this book concern itself with the topic why Orwell decided to write, nor really with the how. Oh well, it does mention rather generic reasons in the first essay, but honestly, these reasons are kind of obvious and applicable to everyone. Instead, Orwell delv
I excepted this to be a simple, easy read about Orwell’s motivations and techniques when it comes to writing. It was actually a lot more. In the first essay his focus is on the writing, including, as he sees it, the main motives for writing and the general disposition of any writer. That’s where the simple stuff that most people will expect ends, though. Right there on page 10. The remaining 110 pages are where things get interesting.

I’ve never found myself quite so into politics. Of
Kirtida Gautam
I am making up my mind about the book.
Before telling what I didn't like, here are the lines I liked:
*Hitler will at any rate go down in history as the man who made the City of London laugh on the wrong side of its face.
*War is the greatest of all agents of change. It speeds up all processes, wipes out minor distinctions, brings realities to the surface. Above all, war brings it home to the individual. That he is NOT altogether an individual.
* England is perhaps the only great country wh
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
When I was a child, I loved Animal Farm. As I got older, I found and fell for 1984. A grown man of 30 now, I find that the more I read Orwell, the more I appreciate the author. His depth of thought and logic really shine through in Why I Write. He explains himself, his socialist world view, his writing style, and takes on the Nazis. Easy read, simple, concise, beautiful.
Dane Cobain
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to mark this book down a little bit because I feel like it was mis-sold to me. Orwell basically uses the first couple of pages to say that he writes for political reasons and then the rest of the book is about his political beliefs, so really this should be called “On Politics“.

Still, it was fine, it just wasn’t what I was expecting and so therefore it also wasn’t what I was in the mood to read. I’m also not really sure who I’d recommend it to. I mean, it’s worth reading if you
غيداء الجويسر
Updated 31 March 2016 (Little 'tweaking'):
Date Started: 27-11-2014
Date Finished: 20-05-2015

So .. I’ve finished reading Why I Write, by the way .. It is worth mentioning that I have the translated Arabic edition, though .. I’ve decided to read it in English! Why? I don’t know, maybe because I want to ‘show off’ ;) or I wanted to strengthen my language skills, moreover, I wanted to read it as Orwell himself has written it :) - that’s for sure -. Ok, so back to the book, 2.5 out
César García Hernández
Nov 15, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in politics of writing or orwell
Shelves: essays
the first thing to know about this collection of essays by george orwell is that it would have been better titled "on writing," because this is NOT about why orwell wrote, as teh title implies. except perhaps for the section of the title essay in which he discusses the four motivations that he believes exist for writing, this book is not about orwell's motivations. the most personalized section of the any of these essays consists of a few pages in which orwell remembers his earliest childhood wr ...more
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Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a police officer with the Indian Imperial P
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“So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.” 109 likes
“All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.” 107 likes
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