A fascinating article about TS Eliot's reason for rejecting Orwell's Animal Farm for publication in 1944.
Eliot's reasons seem to me to be sound, especially his observation that the wall-to-wall negativity of Orwell's novelistic vision (I have read all his novels, but enjoyed them only for the amusing extremes of negativity - except 1984 which I hated from cover to cover, however true it obviously all is) is not just depressing, but fundamentally untrue. Life has bright spots as well as dark ones. Orwell's essays are full of light and humour as well as biting criticism. They are brilliant. I still re-read some of them from time to time. But somehow his novels are one-dimensional and almost bitter. It does not surprise me that T.S. Eliot spotted this immediately. Old Possum may have been a bit of a cad, especially where his wife was concerned, but he was certainly a bright cad.
Digitised for the first time by the British Library, Eliot’s rejection is now available to read alongside others including Virginia Woolf’s to James Joyce
THEGUARDIAN.COM|BY ALISON FLOOD