Down and Out in Paris and London

Will we ever know the real George Orwell?

While George Orwell was staying with his family in Southwold during the 1930s, figuring out how to become a writer, the town pharmacist was busy shooting ciné footage. On the edge of a crowd watching a circus parade, he captured a tall man smoking at a street corner. It’s impossible to identify this brief glimpse as Orwell, but D.J. Taylor sees the self-conscious figure holding himself apart as a possible sighting. It doesn’t seem all that revealing, so why does it matter? It feels somehow symbolic of a wider effort to grasp something tangible and candid of a writer who can too readily be obscured by his own myth. This