George Orwell: Coming up for Air

(1934 words)

Orwell’s fourth novel, Coming up for Air was published in 1939 under the lengthening shadows of pan-European Fascism. Both pathos and paradox are evident in the book. Pathos because it was largely written abroad where Orwell was in medical exile due to the difficulties he was experiencing in trying to draw air into his own frail lungs. Paradoxical because, of all Orwell’s novels, Coming up for Air most vividly rekindles the fading aura of dappled Edwardian Englishness despite the fact that it was written in Morocco.

The story features George Bowling, originally of shopkeeper stock, but now a wage-slave in the brash world of insurance-selling while tyrannised by Hilda, his joyless, …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Williams, Nigel. "Coming up for Air". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 March 2012
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]