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01/22/2013 08:39 am ET

George Orwell Uncovered: A Guided Tour Of The Ministry Of Truth

Back in the late Seventies, my English master favoured his class with a terrific harangue on the historical rootedness of practically all literature. No lyric was too slight, he maintained, for it not ultimately to require some kind of authenticating gloss for the future reader bamboozled by unfamiliar detail.

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