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This short book was commissioned in September 1943 and was written in the Spring of 1944, after the completion of Animal Farm. It was published in 1947; because of the delay in publication (apparently caused by the “wartime paper shortage”) Collins — the publisher — updated bits of it in 1946. Part of the series “Britain in Pictures”, which in the 1980s was “much sought after by collectors”, it covers very much the same terrain as did The Lion and the Unicorn, though the text is much milder. Orwell emphasized the “decency” of the English people. This work, too, he later requested not be reprinted. The book is divided into six sections, one of which dealing with language, anticipates his subsequent discussions of the various uses to which English can be put.
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