Political allegory and literary criticism

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Few books are as well-known as Animal Farm. Published fifty years ago, in August 1945, as the Cold War was about to begin, the novel with its mixture of simple fairy-tale and historical allegory, still has the power to charm and provoke, even though that war now seems to be part of a previous age.


For Orwell personally, Animal Farm marked his entry into the halls of literary fame. With the first impression of 4,500 copies soon sold out, sales in the UK reached 25,000 within five years, and over half a million in the US within four years. From being a marginal left-wing figure, Orwell became one of the most celebrated writers of the day, with periodic radio and television adaptations of both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four. In 1954, the first animated version of a literary text a cartoon of Animal Farm was made. However, in the last few years of his life, with a newly adopted son to bring up alone after his wife's unexpected death, and with his tuberculosis becoming increasingly serious, the success of what Orwell called his 'little squib' may have been some small comfort.
Animal Farm is easily the most famous work of political allegory ever written. The animals take over the running of a farm, and everything is wonderful for a while until the pigs get out of hand. It is a brilliant description of what happens when the revolution goes astray. ...
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