© 1941 “Secker and Warburg”. GB, London. ISBN (Searchlight Books, No.1). Print-run: 5,000 copies.
T. R. Fyvel, a non-Communist left-wing writer in his early 30s, suggested to Warburg and Orwell during the summer of 1940 (when England faced the possibility of a successful German Invasion) “a series of short books on war aims for a better future”. The result was “Searchlight Books”, long pamphlets or short books, of which Orwell was a hard working editor along with Fyvel. Of the projected 17 titles, ten were published during 1941-42, and apparently bomb damage to Warburg's office and the destruction of his printer's paper stock played a role in ending the series. Orwell wrote the first one, which is comprised of three essays: “England Your England” has been accurately described as a “brilliantly written summary of English national characteristics” (and subsequently has been anthologized in various collections of Orwell's essays and elsewhere); “Shopkeepers at War” makes a cogent case against “private” capitalism and for a socialist society; “The English Revolution” argues that it is already “under way” and will take a peculiarly English form.
The Lion and the Unicorn, written with great speed in October, 1940, was first published on February 19, 1941; initially 5,000 copies were ordered, but the number was raised to 7,500. A second printing of 5,000 copies was ordered in March, 1941. It sold over 10,000 copies (and was among the most commercially successful of Orwell's books to that date). The destruction of the stock by bombs ended its sales. There was no American edition. It was republished by Penguin Books in 1982 with an introduction by Orwell biographer Bernard Crick.
OCR: Mikhail V. Chernyshev
This booklet: “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius”
were first time published on February 19, 1941.