Eric Arthur Blair, who used the pen name, George Orwell, was an English novelist, journalist, essayist, and critic. George Orwell is considered to be one of the most eminent writers of the 20th century due to his advocacy for social justice, individuality and freedom, which is explored in some of his most famous and important novels including 1984 and Animal Farm.
Born: 25th of June, 1903, Motihari, India
Died: 21st of January, 1950, London, England, from Tuberculosis
Orwell described his family as “lower-upper-middle class”. His father worked in the Indian Civil Service, and his mother grew up in Moulmein, Burma. When Orwell was one year old, his mother took him and his older sister to England and settled in Henley-on-Thames. His father stayed behind in India and rarely visited.
At a young age, Orwell started to write poetry and even had one of his poems published at a local newspaper when he was only 11. He attended Eton College but at the time of graduation, his family could not afford to pay for his university education, so he decided to join the India Imperial Police Force in 1922. After five years in Burma, he decided to resign, return to England and pursue a writing career.
When Orwell returned to London, he visited his old tutor at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer. To make ends meet, Orwell took all sorts of jobs including dishwashing and tutoring. While he was living in London, Orwell explored the poorer parts of London and developed a sympathetic attitude towards the lower class.
In 1928, Orwell moved to Paris to work as a journalist. He published articles for ‘Monde’, a communist magazine. His experiences in London and Paris gave him insight into the levels of poverty in both cities, which inspired him to compose his famous memoir, ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. After two years of living in Paris, Orwell moved back to London and spent a few years teaching at a private school.
In 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War but was threatened by Soviet-backed communists and forced him to flee. The experience turned him into a lifelong anti-Stalinist and prompted him to write ‘Animal Farm’, a satirical representation of the Russian Revolution.
Orwell’s observations of the destructions of World War II, inspired him to compose 1984, a novel that became one of the most important works of the 20th century as its central themes and ideas revolving a totalitarian government, are still relevant today.
Other famous works
- Politics and the English Language
- Shooting an Elephant
- Homage to Catalonia
- Coming Up for Air
- Burmese Days
- Keep the Aspidistra Flying
In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.