A graphic novel version of one of George Orwell most celebrated essays, Such, Such Were the Joys, is published later this month by Pluto Press, adapted by writer Sean Michael Wilson and artist Jaime Huxtable.
In Such, Such Were The Joys, Orwell looks back on his childhood and on his experience of boarding school, reflecting on the often brutal realities of the regime to which pupils were subjected in the name of class prejudice, hierarchy and imperial destiny.
First published by Partisan Review in 1952, two years after Orwell’s death, contemporary reaction was mixed, but its powerful writing and haunting observations have made it one of Orwell’s most commonly anthologised essays.
Sean and James ground-breaking graphic treatment conjures up how this harsh world looks through a child’s innocent, accepting eyes while juxtaposing the mature Orwell’s ruminations on what such schooling says about society.
The book aims to introduce Orwell’s writing to new readers while offering a fascinating new visual dimension for those who already know it well.
“Over the last few years I have developed a very strong interest in Orwell’s various essays and shorter pieces,” says Sean. “They cover a very wide range of subjects, everything from communism to cigarettes, from toads to the Tories! All written in the style of using ‘plain but intelligent’ sentences and points of Orwell’s, which later became very influential as a writing style.
“Such, Such Were the Joys is an autobiographical tale about Orwell’s childhood experiences of school, connecting his tales to wider social points.”
Out on 20th August this adaptation, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, is the first ever graphic novel to be published by Pluto Press, a respected long time publisher of books on sociology, history and politics. Published with the permission of the Orwell estate, it includes back cover comments from Orwell’s son.
George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair (1903 – 1950), one of the most well known writers of the 20th century, perhaps best known for the novels 1984 and Animal Farm.
Sean Michael Wilson is a multi-award-winning comic book writer. He has written over 40 books, including an illustrated Tao Te Ching (Shambhala, 2018), and co-authored Many Not the Few (New Internationalist, 2019), with a foreword by Jeremy Corbyn, and Parecomic (Seven Stories, 2013), with a foreword by Noam Chomsky.
Other recent works include a comic about the history of The General Federation of Trade Unions, also with Sean Michael Wilson (the book acts as a companion to Sean’s The Many Not the Few), plus a piece for the next volume of Russ Kick’s The Graphic Canon, a comics anthology published by Seven Stories Press, New York.
• Such, Such Were the Joys by George Orwell | Adapted by Sean Michael Wilson | Illustrated by Jaime Huxtable | Coming August 20th, 2021 | Pluto Press | 112 pages | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)