‘Inside the Whale’ is a long essay by George Orwell (1903-50), published in 1940. The title of Orwell’s essay refers to the biblical Book of Jonah, in which the prophet Jonah is swallowed by a great fish (although, as Orwell notes, received wisdom tends to substitute ‘whale’ for ‘fish’).
Sir Philip Sidney’s An Apology for Poetry, also known as The Defence of Poesy, was written in 1579-80). It has at least one great claim to fame: it’s the first work of ‘literary criticism’ in English. Sidney’s essay is an ‘apology’ for, or defence of, the art of poetry, but […]
‘Why I Write’ is an essay by George Orwell, published in 1946 after the publication of his novella Animal Farm and before he wrote his final novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. The essay is an insightful piece of memoir about Orwell’s early years and how he developed as a writer, from harbouring […]
‘The Function of Criticism’ is an influential 1923 essay by T. S. Eliot, perhaps the most important poet-critic of the modernist movement. In some ways a follow-up to Eliot’s earlier essay ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ from four years earlier, ‘The Function of Criticism’ focuses on the role of the […]
‘Down the Mine’ is an essay by George Orwell (1903-50), originally published as the second chapter of his 1937 book The Road to Wigan Pier but later reprinted as a separate essay. In ‘Down the Mine’, Orwell describes his experience of going down an English coal mine to see the […]