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Orwell: Animal Farm

3. Animal Farm and Russia

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Animal Farm in the context of Stalin and Soviet Russia, focusing in particular on: (i) the course of the Russian Revolution, from the collapse of the autocratic monarchy of Tsar Nicholas II to the rise of the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin; (ii) the extent to which Orwell saw the Russian Revolution as being emblematic of all revolutions ("All revolutions are failures, but they are not all the same failure"); (iii) his desire to depict the nature of Soviet Russia in "a story that could be easily understood by almost anyone"; and (iv) the difficulty of writing an anti-Soviet novel at a time when Britain was desperately reliant on Soviet support to win the Second World War.


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 Russia [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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