5. George Orwell

1. Biography

Eric Blair, alias George Orwell, was born in India in 1903; he was the son of a minor colonial official. He was educated at St. Cyprian’s in Eastbourne then at Eton. 

He developed an independent-minded personality and professed atheism and socialism. In 1927 he went on leave and decided not to return. 

After he returned to London and started a social experiment: wearing second-hand clothes, he spent short periods living in lodging-houses in the East End. In this way he experienced poverty and learned how institutions for the poor. 

After a period in Paris where he worked as a dishwasher in a hotel, he decided to begin publishing his works with the pseudonym of George Orwell. 

Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) was his first non-fiction narrative where he described his experience among the poor. In 1936 he married Eilee O’Shaughnessy and in the same year Orwell was commissioned by a left-wing publisher to investigate conditions among the miners, factory workers and unemployed in the industrial North. He published a report in 1937: ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’. 

In 1936 Orwell went to Catalonia with his wife to report on the Spanish Civil War. In 1938 he recalled this experience in ‘Homage to Catalonia’.  George suffered from bronchitis and pneumonia and Eileen died during an operation in 1945. 

During the Second World War, Orwell moved to London and in 1941 he joined the BBC. In 1943 he resigned and became literary editor of ‘Tribune’ a socialist weekly. He also began writing ‘Animal Farm’(published in 1945) and his last book was ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (published in 1949).

Orwell died of tuberculosis the following year. 

The Artist’s development

Orwell’s various experiences abroad contributed to his unusual ability to see his country from the outside and to judge its strengths and weaknesses. 

Closely linke...

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