Burmese Days


Burmese Days is a novel by British writer George Orwell. It was first published in the UK in 1934. It is a tale from the waning days of British colonialism, when Burma was ruled from Delhi as a part of British India – "a portrait of the dark side of the British Raj." At its centre is John Flory, "the lone and lacking individual trapped within a bigger system that is undermining the better side of human nature."[1] Orwell's first novel, it describes "corruption and imperial bigotry in a society where, "after all, natives were natives – interesting, no doubt, but finally...an inferior people."[2]

Because of concerns that the novel might be potentially libellous, that Katha was described too realistically, and that some of the characters might be based on real people, it was first published "further afield", in the United States. A British edition, with altered names, appeared a year later. When it was published in the 1930s Orwell's harsh portrayal of colonial society was felt by "some old Burma hands" to have "rather let the side down." In a letter of 1946, Orwell said "I dare say it's unfair in some ways and inaccurate in some details, but much of it is simply reporting what I have seen."[3]

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