Not all satires are equal. Written in 1943–4, and eventually – after a series of publishers’ rejections, including one inspired by a Soviet spy – published in 1945, Animal Farm: A Fairy Story chronicles the revolution of the animals against Mr Jones at Manor Farm. An allegory on the Soviet regime, Animal Farm was banned in the Eastern bloc and is one of the great political works of the 20th Century.
'Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.'