Decline of the English Murder

George Orwell

Renard Press



ISBN: 9781804471173


Publication date: 23 October 2024



‘Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances, what is it that you want to read about? Naturally, about a murder.’

George Orwell set out ‘to make political writing into an art’, and to a wide extent this aim shaped the future of English literature – his descriptions of authoritarian regimes helped to form a new vocabulary that is fundamental to understanding totalitarianism. While 1984 and Animal Farm are amongst the most popular classic novels in the English language, this new series of Orwell’s essays seeks to bring a wider selection of his writing on politics and literature to a new readership.

In Decline of the English Murder, the tenth in the Orwell’s Essays series, Orwell considers the sorts of murders are portrayed in the media, and why exactly people like to read about them. Expounding on his findings in the accompanying essay, titled in full The Ethics of the Detective Story from Raffles to Miss Blandish, Orwell broadens his focus to ‘true crime’ and realism in fictional murders – a genre that thrives to this day.

‘A writer who can – and must – be rediscovered with every age.’
Irish Times