August 17, 1945: George Orwell’s Animal Farm

On 17 August 1945 George Orwell published “Animal Farm” an allegorical novella which has been defined a beast fable, a political allegory, an anti-utopian novel, which made him immediately famous. The original title was “Animal Farm: A Fairy Story”, but U.S. publishers dropped the subtitle when it was republished

The Guardian on 24 August 1945 wrote that Animal Farm was “a delightfully humorous and caustic satire on the rule of the many by the few“.

Here is how the novel begins:

The well-known book, which tells the story of a revolution that went wrong, represents a bitter satire on all revolutions and on dictatorship.
The plot is about a group of animals that rebel against their neglectful farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free, and happy.
In the end, however, the rebellion is betrayed, and the democracy where All animals are equal degenerates into a brutal tyranny; the farm ends up as bad it was before, under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon.
The previous ideal of democracy has been transformed by the pigs that have proclaimed that All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” (1)

Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.” (2)

…and how it ends:

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” (3)

(1) “Tutti gli animali sono uguali, ma alcuni sono più uguali di altri”

(2) “Il signor Jones, della Fattoria, aveva chiuso a chiave il pollaio per la notte, ma era troppo ubriaco per ricordarsi di chiudere le finestrelle. Nel cerchio di luce della sua lanterna che danzava da una parte all’altra, attraversò barcollando il cortile, scalciò via gli stivali alla porta sul retro, si spillò un ultimo bicchiere di birra dal bariletto nel retrocucina e si avviò su, verso il letto, dove la signora Jones russava già.”

(3) “Dodici voci gridavano di rabbia, ed erano tutte uguali. Nessun dubbio, adesso, su che cosa fosse successo alle facce dei maiali. Le creature fuori guardavano da maiale a uomo e da uomo a maiale, e di nuovo da maiale a uomo; ma già era impossibile dire distinguere fra i due.”

41 thoughts on “August 17, 1945: George Orwell’s Animal Farm

  1. I love George Orwell’s writing! Both 1984 and Animal Farm are brilliant novels and the way they show the world descending into a dystopia and his questioning of the real world and society through these dystopias is really amazing

    Liked by 2 people

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