GEORGE ORWELL, one of the outstanding writers of the age, has become a
symbolic tigure. There are many expositions of his political influence, his
literary effect, his later years: even of his schooldays at St. Cyprian's
and Eton. One aspect of his life, however, remains obscure: what was the
boy Eric Blair really like at home and with his young friends of those days?
Those writing of George Orwell have found little illumination, and he himself
left no detailed account of his boyhood.
Jacintha Buddicom reveals that Eric Blair was an aloof and undemonstrative
boy, self-sufficient and lacking the herd-instinct, he required no wide circle
of friends. Nevertheless, at the age of eleven, in Shiplake, he observed
a family of children to whom he apparently took a particular fancy.
These were the Buddicom children - Prosper, a year younger than himself,
and the two girls: Jacintha, small for thirteen, and Guinever, aged seven.
With some ingenuity he contrived to make their acquaintance: and from that
sunny, summer afternoon Eric, with his little sister Avril, and the three
young Buddicoms became very close friends indeed.
This important book is a simple and evocative account of that friendship,
of everyday life in the world so far removed from the world of today : a
world of candle-light and croquet, of caramels twelve-for-a-penny with the
1914-18 War as a convulsive but distant background.
To the young Eric with Prosper and Guiny it was a world of shooting, fishing
and birdwatching: to the young Eric with Jacintha it was a world of books
and poetry, and the confiding of dreams. Three of Eric Blair's poems of that
period are now published for the first time, together with letters written
in 1920-21 and 1949.
This book, in fascinating detail, shares her remembrance: it is a valuable
contribution to the bibliography of George Orwell.
was born on May 10th 1901 at Plymouth. She believes
that "things should be done well or not at all
" - so, she modestly
says, it is usually not at all.
However, she has designed two Shropshire houses, Meadowbrook
for its beauty, and Ticklerton
Cottage remarkable for ingenuity in
counteracting, without contravening, the 1947 restrictions: and two motor-caravans
–also presumably remarkable, since both won prizes. (And she doesn.t even
She has written two books of poetry: one published long ago in America,
and the recent enchanting CAT POEMS (Leslie Frewin).
She now lives with her sister Guinever, in sight of the sea in a Southern
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