In 1944 T S Eliot, then director at Faber & Faber, wrote back to George Orwell rejecting his novella Animal Farm. While his letter praises Orwell’s skill as a satirist, comparing him to Jonathan Swift, Eliot expresses his doubts that Orwell’s allegory ‘is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time’.
Publishing Animal Farm was not a straightforward task. Before its eventual publication by Secker & Warburg in August 1945, the novella was rejected by at least four different publishers, and Orwell even considered printing it as a pamphlet. While it was written in the form of an animal fable, readers of Animal Farm immediately recognised it for what it was: a satire of Stalinism which condemned totalitarian practices and presented Stalin as a traitor of the Russian Revolution. Many publishers thought the work too controversial to be published at a time in which the Soviet Union was a powerful ally of Britain against Germany. Another publisher objected to the choice of pigs as the protagonists of the story, worried that such portrayal would offend Russian readers. Despite these initial difficulties, Animal Farm achieved considerable success in Britain and abroad, and within months of its publication the work was translated into several languages.
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