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Jone Johnson Lewis

The Importance of the Women

By December 15, 2005

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Even in studying the life of a famous man, the women's history approach -- "examine the experience of women" -- can shed light. D. J. Taylor, biographer of George Orwell, writes about the recent discovery of letters from Orwell's first wife, Eileen, who died nine years into their 1936 marriage. Taylor writes of this discovery's importance in understanding Eileen's more famous husband's life, "Needless to say, from the biographer's point of view - especially the biographer who has already published his biography - all this is on the one hand tremendously exciting and, on the other, unbelievably frustrating. You spends four years or so trying to penetrate the carapace of someone who at the time remained resolutely impenetrable, only for new evidence to come rolling along to suggest a radically revised view of your subject." Read more about these letters and how they help in understandng Orwell's life: Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Letters throw new light on Orwell's first wife

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