Books: Odd Man In: George Orwell

THE COLLECTED ESSAYS, JOURNALISM AND LETTERS OF GEORGE ORWELL. Edited by Sonia Orwell and fan Angus. Four volumes (2,041 pages), Harcourt, Brace & World. $34.80 the set

By all odds, George Orwell is the most unlikely culture hero to emerge in the '60s. The ideological passions that rent the Red '30s, strewing literary corpses and real bodies over the Marxist battlefield, leave the current generation cold. Yet this minor English novelist (Burmese Days, A Clergyman's Daughter) is now accepted generally in England and the U.S. as a major prophet for his political journalism,...