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George Orwell

Animal Farm

Publisher: © 1946 Harcourt, Brace & Co., USA, New York.

The First U. S. Edition.

Advance Confidential Copy.

By Daniel J. Leab:

ANIMAL FARM, “advance confidential copy”, ink-stamped “Review Copy” and giving the details of publication on the front wrapper. There is edition with similar design from Christopher Morley, “Animal Farm by George Orwell”, reprint from the August 1946 Book-of-the-Month Club News.

While struggling to find an English publisher, Orwell at the recommendation of Partisan Review friends sent the manuscript to the Dial press in New York, whose rejection included the assertion that “it was impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.” Various other U.S. publishers, including, recalled Frederic Warburg, “top firms as Harper, Knopf, Viking, and Scribner”, also rejected it. But towards the end of 1945 Harcourt, Brace had “the courage” (Orwell's words) to accept it, but dropped the subtitle “A Fairy Story”, as did all translations in Orwell's lifetime except that into Telugu (a language of the Indian sub-continent). Harcourt, Brace in August 1946 published a print run of 50,000 copies, and it was also a Book-of-the-Month Club choice (whose two print runs totaled over 500,000 copies). Animal Farm was enthusiastically endorsed by the club's editorial board — the critic Christopher Morley (who had been on the BMOC-board since its organization in 1926) called the book “one of the great political satires”. And most U.S. reviewers agreed with him. Edmund Wilson compared Orwell to Voltaire and Swift and called the book “absolutely first rate”.

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