Reading and Misreading Orwell

Monday 15 January 2024 @ 12:30-14:00

Free event

IAS Forum, University College London

The Orwell Foundation and the Institute of Advanced Studies are delighted to welcome Dr Débora Tavares (University of São Paulo) and Dr Nathan Waddell (University of Birmingham) for two talks on ‘reading and misreading’ the work of George Orwell.

Free event – register via Eventbrite or email to reserve a spot


‘Reading Orwell from the Global South’ Dr Débora Tavares (University of São Paulo)

“In this talk, I will approach George Orwell’s writings primarily from a Global Southern point of view, highlighting the relationship between social classes and inequality. Orwell’s work constantly invites us to analyse the details of common life and not to ignore those forgotten by the system. My focus will be on Orwell’s essays like ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (1936), ‘Down the Mine’ (1937), and ‘Politics and the English Language’ (1946), along with books like Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936), The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).”

‘Wyndham Lewis Misreading Orwell’ Dr Nathan Waddell (University of Birmingham)

“The focus of this talk is the highly critical account of Orwell given by Wyndham Lewis in The Writer and the Absolute (1952), Lewis’s late-career assessment of the position of the writer in society. Lewis and Orwell were not close associates, but Lewis knew Orwell’s books closely, or thought he did, and The Writer and the Absolute cuts into several problems at the heart of Orwell’s writing even as it spectacularly misjudges much of it—a characteristically Lewisian move. Reconstructing the details of these misreadings, I will suggest that Orwell was in certain respects one of Lewis’s many inter-war doppelgängers.”


About the Speakers

Dr Débora Tavares, University of São Paulo

Débora Tavares has a master’s degree in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and a PhD in Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying and The Road to Wigan Pier, both from University of São Paulo (USP). She researches and teaches connections between literature and society, as well as Orwell’s writings.

Dr Nathan Waddell, University of Birmingham

Nathan Waddell is an Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham and the author of Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (2019). He has edited The Cambridge Companion to Nineteen Eighty-Four (2020) and an Oxford World’s Classics edition of Orwell’s novel A Clergyman’s Daughter (2021). Currently he’s writing a creative-critical trade book on Orwell for Oneworld.

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