Modern Classics Burmese Days

Paperback | July 28, 2009

byGeorge Orwell

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Based on his experiences as a policeman in Burma, George Orwell's first novel presents a devastating picture of British colonial rule. It describes corruption and imperial bigotry in a society where, 'after all, natives were natives - interesting, no doubt, but finally ... an inferior people'. When Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Indian Dr Veraswami, he defies this orthodoxy. The doctor is in danger: U Po Kyin, a corrupt magistrate, is plotting his downfall. The only thing that can save him is membership of the all-white Club, and Flory can help. Flory's life is changed further by the arrival of beautiful Elizabeth Lackersteen from Paris, who offers an escape from loneliness and the 'lie' of colonial life. George Orwell's first novel, inspired by his experiences in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, Burmese Days includes a new introduction by Emma Larkin in Penguin Modern Classics.

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From the Publisher

Based on his experiences as a policeman in Burma, George Orwell's first novel presents a devastating picture of British colonial rule. It describes corruption and imperial bigotry in a society where, 'after all, natives were natives - interesting, no doubt, but finally ... an inferior people'. When Flory, a white timber merchant, befri...

From the Jacket

Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, Burmese Days describes both indigenous corruption and Imperial bigotry, when ’after all, natives were natives – interesting, no doubt, but finally only a "subject" people, an inferior people with black faces’. Against the prevailing orthodoxy, Flory, a white timber mercha...

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:July 28, 2009Publisher:Penguin UkLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0141185376

ISBN - 13:9780141185378

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Customer Reviews of Modern Classics Burmese Days

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from The less trodden path of Orwell's novels If you are here you have most likely already read 1984 and animal farm. This book is much less a commentary on authoritarian governments but it still is touched by the issues of imperialism. The main characters sensitivity to the effects of colonialism which he is a part of is a driving force of this masterpiece.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orwell's Forgotten Masterpiece “In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people–the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me,” it is with these words George Orwell begins one of his most famous essays, “Shooting an Elephant.” It seems that the protagonist, Flory, in "Burmese Days" is no other than Orwell himself. Orwell will forever be remembered for his immortal, frightening parable, "Nineteen Eighty-Four." His other works, especially novels, have been more or less ignored by the general public –wrongly, in my humble opinion. For "Burmese Days" is his most mellifluous and lyrical of works. As you read, you feel the searing heat under an incandesce sun, you feel as though you are in the midst of noisy, busy streets and you can smell the garlic-stricken houses. It is beautiful in its own peculiar way. Mistake not, I do not claim that "Burmese Days" is the greatest novel written on the Raj, for that award must go to Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet series. However, this novel is not merely a tale of the rulers and the ruled, masters and slaves, “superior” and “inferior” races; if you read between the lines, you will notice the subtle psychology behind the whole experience with the Empire. U Po Kyin, a magistrate of erroneously vulpine personality is loyal to the Crown not merely for the sake of loyalty, but for his own enhancement. Paradoxically, we see Burmans manipulating Burmans under the Union Jack. I was particularly struck by the inferiority complex in many natives. For example, Dr. Veraswami wholeheartedly believed that they were not quite as good as Europeans. But the independence is in the air, and colonizers are trying their best - in their own ways - to realize that the sun may set on the British Empire, after all. This is a must-read if you want to comprehend the last days of the British Empire, and the men and women who represented it. They were not all evil men and women; many of them had only the good of intentions. Some of them, like Flory (and Orwell), truly loved these places. As Orwell reminds us, “every particle of his soil was compounded of Burmese soil.” Consequently, they were always pariahs. They belonged neither with the native nor the ruling class. A novel of the bygone world, but a novel that still has strength to move our hearts. Very highly recommended!
Date published: 2012-05-21