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Orwell: Animal Farm

1. Animal Farm and Orwell's Career

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Animal Farm in the context of Orwell's life and career, focusing in particular on: (i) the fame of Animal Farm, a novel which many people know about (and might even be able to quote from) even if they haven't actually read; (ii) Orwell's literary output this point, and the extent to which his previous novels centred on the same kind of themes; (iii) the political background against which Orwell was writing Animal Farm: Britain allied with the Soviet Union in order to defeat Nazi Germany; (iv) the difficulty of getting the novel published; and (v) the praise for the novel when it was published in 1945, including from Graham Greene ("an indication of Orwell's fine talent") and Cyril Connolly ("one of the most enjoyable books since the war … deliciously written.")


In this course, Dr Nathan Waddell (University of Birmingham) explores George Orwell's Animal Farm. In the first module, we think about Animal Farm in the context of Orwell's life and career, before turning in the second and third modules to consider the novel in the context of the Spanish Civil War and Soviet Russia, respectively. In the fourth module, we think about what kind of story Animal Farm is, while in the fifth module, we consider the novel's narrative voice. In the sixth module, we think about the themes of tyranny and circularity in the novel, before turning in the final module to consider the concept of 'decency' in Orwell's work in general and in Animal Farm in particular.


Dr Nathan Waddell is Senior Lecturer in Early Twentieth-Century and Modernist Literature at the University of Birmingham. He teaches and researches early twentieth-century literature, with a core emphasis on the life, work, and controversies of the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957). His recent publications include Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (2019) and (as co-editor with J. Greenberg) 'Brave New World': Contexts and Legacies. (2016).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Waddell, N. (2021, May 12). Orwell: Animal Farm - Animal Farm and Orwell's Career [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Waddell, N. "Orwell: Animal Farm – Animal Farm and Orwell's Career." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 May 2021,