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A Warning From the Unpublished Preface to Orwell’s Animal Farm

Only discovered in 1971, the Preface offers George Orwell’s critical but neglected insights into the nature of censorship in a free society

George Orwell‘s novella Animal Farm (1945) was a political fable. The cleverly portrayed animals who chase off the farmer and try to run the farm as a utopia slowly begin to replicate all the attitudes and practices against which they had rebelled. The story, summarized here, satirizes the Soviet Union’s transition from revolution to totalitarianism under Joseph Stalin (1878–1953). In fact, the animal characters and incidents are often allusions to historical Soviet figures and events. His Preface, “The Freedom of the Press,” was omitted from the first edition of the book, then disappeared, and was not rediscovered until 1971. From it, we learn that Orwell had considerable difficulty getting his fable published. That wasn’t principally because of wartime issues. There Read More ›