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Though not qualified to teach, and without a university degree, the schools invested in his famous former school and posh accent. A future generation of sociologists would call it ‘cultural capital’, and such schools put it in their prospectuses. Parents could hardly ask for more from a gentleman, and in his case they didn’t know the half of what they were getting. By this time Orwell had growing reason to believe in himself as a writer. 107 He seemed to have acquired not just a publisher but an up-and-coming publisher at that.

It is the sort of poem Gordon might have written, and I do not think it is intended as ironic: I feel, and with sharper pang My mortal sickness; how I give My heart to weak and stuffless ghosts And with the living cannot live. The acid smoke has soured the fields, And browned the few and windworn flowers; But there, where steel and concrete soar In dizzy geometric towers— There where the tapering cranes sweep round, And great wheels turn, and trains roar by Like strong, low headed brutes of steel— This is my World, my Home; yet why So alien still .

Modernism is abandoned for marching. The road is straight. The men move on, the walking wounded of England. He ends the book with a couple of plain tips: ‘. . ’100 Orwell did not just want to write, he wanted to get under the skin of those he wrote about, as close to the grey-skinned experience as he thought he could stand—in the workhouse (‘The Spike’, The Adelphi, April 1931); in the colonial prison (‘A Hanging’, The Adelphi, August 1931); in the fields, just recently quit (‘Hop Picking’, New Statesman and Nation, October 1931); in common lodging-houses (‘Common Lodging Houses’, New Statesman and Nation, September 1932); in jail (‘Clink’, unpublished manuscript, 1932); amongst the Parisian immigrant poor and the tramps in Kent, and the dead and the dying of ‘Hospital X’, or Hospital Cochin, 27 rue de Faubourg Saint-Jacques, where he was admitted for two weeks in March 1929.

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