Readersforum's Blog

December 6, 2013

T.S. Eliot, as Faber & Faber Editor, Rejects George Orwell’s “Trotskyite” Novel Animal Farm (1944)

animal-farm-coverBy Josh Jones

We’ve written recently about that most common occurrence in the life of every artist—the rejection letter. Most rejections are uncomplicated affairs, ostensibly reflecting matters of taste among editors, producers, and curators. In 1944, in his capacity as an editorial director at Faber & Faber, T.S. Eliot wrote a letter to George Orwell rejecting the latter’s satirical allegoryAnimal Farm. The letter is remarkable for its candid admission of the politics involved in the decision.

From the very start of the letter, Eliot betrays a personal familiarity with Orwell, in the informal salutation “Dear Orwell.” The two were in fact acquainted, and Orwell two years earlier had published a penetrating review of the first three of Eliot’s Four Quartets.

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