George Orwell: Burmese Days

(1067 words)
  • Chris Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University)

There were some problems in publishing Orwell's second book, Burmese Days. Victor Gollancz declined it, anxious that it would offend too many people in Indian circles (especially retired imperial servants with letter-writing time on their hands?), and that it might invite libel actions from individuals who might claim to recognise themselves. Interestingly, later discussions about the names of characters in the novel between Gollancz and Orwell suggest that Victor was as concerned about being sued by Burmese and Indians who recognised themselves in the book as by English colonial officials. The risk seemed too great: “I can't face the sleepless nights”, wrote Gollancz to Orwell. Heinemann rejected the book for similar reasons.…

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Hopkins, Chris. "Burmese Days". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 July 2002
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]