Letter to Gleb Struve (17 February 1944)

17 February 1944

Dear Mr Struve,1

Gleb Struve

Gleb Struve, Professor of Slavic Languages

Please forgive me for not writing earlier to thank you for the very kind gift of “25 Years of Soviet Russian Literature”, with its still more kind inscription. I am afraid I know very little about Russian literature and I hope your book will fill up some of the many gaps in my knowledge. It has already roused my interest in Zamyatin’s “We”, which I had not heard of before. I am interested in that kind of book, and even keep making notes for one myself that may get written sooner or later.2 I wonder whether you can tell if there is an adequate translation of Blok? I saw some translated fragments about ten years ago in “Life and Letters”, but whether they were any good as a translation I do not know.

I am writing a little squib which might amuse you when it comes out, but it is so not O.K. politically that I don’t feel certain in advance that anyone will publish it. Perhaps that gives you a hint of its subject.3

Yours sincerely
Geo. Orwell

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊


  1. Gleb Struve (1898-1985), born in St. Petersburg, taught at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London University, 1932-47, and was Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of California, Berkeley, 1947-65. He was the author of Soviet Literature 1911-50 and Russian Literature in Exile.
  2. This is Orwell’s first reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  3. Animal Farm.

Source: CW16-2421

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3 Responses to Letter to Gleb Struve (17 February 1944)

  1. Meredith on October 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I wonder how you have a copy of this being on Orwell’s side. I would think it was part of Struve’s papers and perhaps it is and you merely accessed it. I am Struve’s great-granddaughter and this is of interest to me.
    Thank you for posting it.

  2. admin on October 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Meredith,

    My source for most Orwell materials on the site is his twenty-volume Complete Works which was first published in 1998. I will check the CW to see where Struve’s papers are found and get back to you later tonight.


    P.S. It’s pretty cool to me that you are Struve’s great-granddaughter. :-)

  3. admin on October 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Best answer I can find from the Complete Works is that the letters between Orwell and Gleb Struve were donated and/or copies were given to the Orwell Archive at University College London.

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