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Orwell's Nose


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About the Author

John Sutherland is the author of some thirty books, including A Little History of Literature (2013) and How to be Well Read (2014). He is a reviewer and essayist for Winston Smith's newspaper, The Times.


'Sutherland is able, with the straightest of faces, to talk about Coming Up for Air being "the most aromatic of Orwell's novels" - a book that, his researches insist, "fairly caresses the nostrils". A conventional academic critic - which Sutherland is not - would probably throw up his or her hands in horror at this insouciance, but it takes only the briefest saunter through the Eng Lit canon to establish that the University of London's former Lord Northcliffe Professor is on to something, not merely in the matter of Orwell's nose but with literary life in general.' - DJ Taylor, The Times; 'This clever little book packs in a great deal: a prefatory essay on smell in literature, a breakneck biography of George Orwell and three quirky appendices including "smell narratives" of two of his books. Sutherland has an impressive nose for the pongs in Orwell's prose ... this biography is redolent, above all, of Sutherland's enduring enthusiasm for a writer he has been reading for more than half a century.' - Sunday Times Culture; 'Orwell's Nose is highly readable in a quick, casual style with many felicities ... this book sent me walking about nose aloft, like a Bisto Kid, hungry for (in Sutherland's phrase) "life's olfactions".' - Financial Times; 'Orwell's Nose is an olfactory cornucopia, a brilliant thematic biography and a compassionate exposure of an almost clean conscience in an invariably dirty age.' - Wall Street Journal; 'In this "pathological biography," a noted critic rereads Orwell and determines that the writer "was born with a singularly diagnostic sense of smell." In addition to the infamous assertion in The Road to Wigan Pier that "lower classes smell," Sutherland, who recently lost his own sense of smell, turns up other pungent landmarks of Orwell's life.' - The New Yorker; 'Do we need another biography of George Orwell? The answer is yes, if it is as racily readable as Orwell's Nose.' - David Lodge

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