George Orwell
Overview
 
Eric Arthur Blair better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice
Social injustice
Social injustice is a concept relating to the claimed unfairness or injustice of a society in its divisions of rewards and burdens and other incidental inequalities...

, an intense opposition to totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

.

Considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote fiction, polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

al journalism, literary criticism
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

 and poetry.
Quotations

They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; Advertising|advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936)

Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively the pacifist is pro-Nazi.

"No, Not One," Adelphi (October 1941)

Encyclopedia
Eric Arthur Blair better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice
Social injustice
Social injustice is a concept relating to the claimed unfairness or injustice of a society in its divisions of rewards and burdens and other incidental inequalities...

, an intense opposition to totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

.

Considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote fiction, polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

al journalism, literary criticism
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

 and poetry. He is best known for the dystopian
Utopian and dystopian fiction
The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal world, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of a nightmare world, or dystopia...

 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

(published in 1949) and the satirical
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 novella Animal Farm
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...

(1945)—they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The first edition was published in 1938. The book was not published in the United States until February 1952. The American edition had a preface...

, an account of his experiences as a volunteer
Poum
Poum is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The town of Poum is located in the far northwest, located on the southern part of Banare Bay, with Mouac Island just offshore....

 on the Republican
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 side during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 and culture, are widely acclaimed.

Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 and political
Political culture
Political culture is the traditional orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics, affecting their perceptions of political legitimacy.Conceptions...

, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms, along with the term "Orwellian
Orwellian
"Orwellian" describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society...

"—now a byword for any totalitarian or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society—have entered the vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

.

Early life and education

Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903, in Motihari
Motihari
Motihari is the headquarters of East Champaran district in the Indian state of Bihar.-History:In 1866 Champaran was made into a district with Motihari as its headquarters. On 1 December 1977 the Champaran district was divided into two districts, and Motihari became the headquarters of East...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. His great-grandfather Charles Blair had been a wealthy country gentleman
Landed gentry
Landed gentry is a traditional British social class, consisting of land owners who could live entirely off rental income. Often they worked only in an administrative capacity looking after the management of their own lands....

 in Dorset who had married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland
Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland
Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland , MP for Lyme Regis and a lord commissioner of trade. Thomas Fane was the second son of Henry Fane of Brympton d'Evercy in Somerset and Anne sister and coheir of John Scrope, children of Thomas Scrope, a Bristol merchant. Anne was a granddaughter of Colonel...

, and had income as an absentee landlord of slave plantations in Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

. His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman. Although the gentility was passed down the generations, the prosperity was not; Eric Blair described his family as "lower-upper-middle class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

". His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin), grew up in Moulmein, Burma where her French father was involved in speculative ventures. Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him to England.

In 1904, Blair's mother settled at Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire, England, about 10 miles downstream and north-east from Reading, 10 miles upstream and west from Maidenhead...

. Thereafter, Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit, in the summer of 1907, he did not see his father again until 1912. His mother's diary from 1905 indicates a lively round of social activity and artistic interests. The family moved to Shiplake
Shiplake
Shiplake is a village and civil parish about south of Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, England on the River Thames.-History:The Church of England parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul dates from at least the 13th century, but in 1869 the Gothic Revival architect G.E. Street rebuilt the chancel,...

 before the First World War, and Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially Jacintha Buddicom
Jacintha Buddicom
Jacintha Buddicom was a poet and a childhood friend of George Orwell .Buddicom was born at Plymouth but moved with her family to Shiplake, Berkshire. There she first met Eric Blair in the summer of 1914 when he was standing on his head in a field at the bottom of the Buddicoms' garden...

. When they first met, he was standing on his head in a field, and on being asked why, he said, "You are noticed more if you stand on your head than if you are right way up." Jacintha and Eric read and wrote poetry and dreamed of becoming famous writers. He told her that he might write a book in similar style to that of H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

's A Modern Utopia
A Modern Utopia
A Modern Utopia is a work of fiction by H. G. Wells.* H. G. Wells's proposal for social reform was the formation of a world state, a concept that increasingly occupied him throughout the remainder of his life...

. During this period, he enjoyed shooting, fishing and birdwatching with Jacintha's brother and sister.

At the age of five, Eric Blair was sent as a day-boy to the convent school
Teaching order
A teaching order is a Catholic religious order or congregation whose particular charism is education. Many orders and societies sponsor educational programs and institutions, and teaching orders participate in other charitable and spiritual activities; a teaching order is distinguished in that...

 in Henley-on-Thames which Marjorie attended (a Roman Catholic convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

 run by French Ursulines
Ursulines
The Ursulines are a Roman Catholic religious order for women founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula.-History:St Angela de Merici spent 17 years leading a...

, exiled from France after religious education was banned there in 1903). His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family was not wealthy enough to afford the fees, making it necessary for him to obtain a scholarship. Ida Blair's brother Charles Limouzin, who lived on the South Coast of England, was asked to find the best possible school to prepare Eric for public school entrance, and he recommended St Cyprian's School
St Cyprian's School
St Cyprian's School was an English preparatory school for boys, which operated in the early 20th century in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Like other preparatory schools, its purpose was to train pupils to do well enough in the examinations to gain admission to leading public schools, and to provide an...

, Eastbourne
Eastbourne
Eastbourne is a large town and borough in East Sussex, on the south coast of England between Brighton and Hastings. The town is situated at the eastern end of the chalk South Downs alongside the high cliff at Beachy Head...

, East Sussex. Limouzin, who was a proficient golfer, came into contact with the school and its headmaster at the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club where he won several competitions in 1903 and 1904. The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win the scholarship, and made a private financial arrangement which allowed Blair's parents to pay only half the normal fees. In September 1911 Eric arrived at St Cyprian's. He boarded at the school until he left going home only for school holidays. He knew nothing of the reduced-fee arrangement until his third year at the school, though he 'soon recognised that he was from a poorer home.' Blair hated the school and many years later based his posthumously published essay Such, Such Were the Joys
Such, Such Were the Joys
"Such, Such Were the Joys" is a long autobiographical essay by the English writer George Orwell. It was probably composed in the early 1940s, but it was first published by the Partisan Review in 1952, two years after Orwell's death...

on his time there. At St. Cyprian's, Blair first met Cyril Connolly
Cyril Connolly
Cyril Vernon Connolly was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon and wrote Enemies of Promise , which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of...

, who himself became a noted writer and who, as the editor of Horizon
Horizon (magazine)
Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art was an influential literary magazine published in London, between 1940 and 1949. It was edited by Cyril Connolly who gave a platform to a wide range of distinguished and emerging writers....

, published many of Orwell's essays. As part of his school work, Blair wrote two poems that were published in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard
Henley Standard
The Henley Standard is the main local newspaper in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England. It is published by the Higgs Group and is one of only a few privately-owned local newspapers in the UK...

, He came second to Connolly in the Harrow History Prize
Harrow History Prize
The Harrow History Prize or the Townsend Warner Preparatory Schools History Prize is a prestigious annual history competition for children at British preparatory schools. It currently attracts around 800 entrants each year.-History:...

, had his work praised by the school's external examiner, and earned scholarships to Wellington College
Wellington College, Berkshire
-Former pupils:Notable former pupils include historian P. J. Marshall, architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, impressionist Rory Bremner, Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge, author Sebastian Faulks, language school pioneer John Haycraft, political journalist Robin Oakley, actor Sir Christopher...

 and Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

. He left St Cyprian's in December 1916.

After Blair spent a term at Wellington in May 1917, a place became available for him as a King's Scholar
King's Scholar
A King's Scholar is a foundation scholar of one of certain public schools...

 at Eton which he took up, and he remained at Eton until December 1921 when he left aged eighteen and a half. Wellington, Orwell told his childhood friend Jacintha Buddicom, was 'beastly', but at Eton he said he was 'interested and happy'. His principal tutor was A. S. F. Gow
A. S. F. Gow
Andrew Sydenham Farrar Gow was a classical scholar at Cambridge University specialising in poetry.He was primarily associated with Trinity College, being a fellow of it from 1911 on, interrupted only by a period as Assistant Master of Eton College, 1914-1925...

, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 who remained a source of advice later in his career. Blair was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

 who spent a short interlude teaching at Eton. Stephen Runciman, who was at Eton with Blair, noted that he and his contemporaries appreciated Huxley's use of words and phrases, but there is no evidence of contact between Orwell and Huxley at Eton outside the classroom. Cyril Connolly followed Blair to Eton, but because they were in separate years they did not associate with each other. Blair's academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies, but during his time at Eton, he worked with Roger Mynors
Roger Mynors
Sir Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors was a British academic and classical scholar.Mynors was educated at Summer Fields School, Oxford and won a scholarship to Eton. He was Newcastle Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. At Eton and Balliol, he was a friend of Cyril Connolly. He was Hertford and...

 to produce a college magazine, The Election Times, joined in the production of other publications - College Days, Bubble and Squeak, - and participated in the Eton Wall Game
Eton Wall Game
The Eton wall game is a game similar to football and Rugby Union, that originated from and is still played at Eton College. It is played on a strip of ground 5 metres wide and 110 metres long next to a slightly curved brick wall, erected in 1717....

. His parents could not afford to send him to university without another scholarship, and they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to obtain one. However, Runciman noted that he had a romantic idea about the East
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

 and it was decided that Blair should join the Indian Police Service
Indian Police Service
The Indian Police Service , simply known as Indian Police or IPS, is one of the three All India Services of the Government of India...

. To do this, it was necessary to pass an entrance examination. His father had retired to Southwold
Southwold
Southwold is a town on the North Sea coast, in the Waveney district of the English county of Suffolk. It is located on the North Sea coast at the mouth of the River Blyth within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town is around south of Lowestoft and north-east...

, Suffolk by this time and Blair was enrolled at a "crammer" there called Craighurst where he brushed up on his classics, English and History. Blair passed the exam, coming seventh out of the twenty-six candidates who exceeded the set pass mark.

Policing in Burma

Blair's grandmother lived at Moulmein, and with family connections in the area, his choice of posting was Burma. In October 1922 he sailed on board S.S. Herefordshire via the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 and Ceylon to join the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. A month later, he arrived at Rangoon and made the journey to Mandalay
Mandalay
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million, and is the capital of Mandalay Region ....

, the site of the police training school. After a short posting at Maymyo, Burma's principal hill station
Hill station
A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia , but also in Africa , for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler...

, he was posted to the frontier outpost of Myaungmya
Myaungmya
Myaungmya is a town in Myaungmya Township, Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar.The town is home to the Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary, a Seventh Day Adventist seminary and Myaungmya Education College....

 in the Irrawaddy Delta
Irrawaddy Delta
The Irrawaddy Delta or Ayeyarwady Delta lies in the Ayeyarwady Region , the lowest expanse of land in Burma that fans out from the limit of tidal influence at Myan Aung to the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, 290 km to the south at the mouth of the Ayeyarwady River...

 at the beginning of 1924.
His imperial policeman's life gave him considerable responsibilities for a young man, while his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante
Yangon Division
Yangon Region is an administrative region of Myanmar. Located in the heart of Lower Myanmar, the division is bordered by Bago Region in the north and east, the Gulf of Martaban in the south, and Ayeyarwady Region in the west. Yangon Region is dominated by its capital city of Yangon, the former...

 as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924 he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, which was closer to Rangoon. Syriam was the site of the refinery of the Burmah Oil Company, " the surrounding land a barren waste, all vegetation killed off by the fumes of sulphur dioxide pouring out day and night from the stacks of the refinery." Its proximity to Rangoon however, a cosmopolitan seaport, had its rewards: Blair went into the city as often as he could," to browse in a bookshop; to eat well-cooked food; to get away from the boring routine of police life." In September 1925 he went to Insein, the home of Insein Prison
Insein Prison
Insein Prison is located in Yangon Division, near Yangon , the old capital of Myanmar. It is run by the military junta of Myanmar, the State Peace and Development Council, and used largely to repress political dissidents....

 the second largest jail in Burma. In Insein, he had "long talks on every conceivable subject" with a woman named Elisa Maria Langford-Rae (later the wife of Kazi Lhendup Dorjee
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee also spelled Kazi Lhendup Dorji or Kazi Lhendup Dorji Khangsarpa, was the first chief minister of Sikkim from 1974 to 1979 after its union with India. He was popularly known as Kazi Saab in Sikkim.-Early life:Kazi Lhendup Dorjee was born in 1904 in Pakyong, East Sikkim, Sikkim...

), who noted his "sense of utter fairness in minutest details".

In April 1926 he moved to Moulmein, where his grandmother lived. At the end of that year, he went to Katha
Kathar
Katha is a town in Sagaing Division, Myanmar, on the west side of the Ayeyarwady river on a bluff with an average elevation of 124 m. Most of the town is more than 10 meters above the river...

, in Upper Burma
Upper Burma
Upper Burma refers to a geographic region of Burma , traditionally encompassing Mandalay and its periphery , or more broadly speaking, Kachin and Shan States....

, where he contracted Dengue fever
Dengue fever
Dengue fever , also known as breakbone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles...

 in 1927. He was entitled to a leave
Leave (military)
In military, leave is a permission to be away from one's unit, either for a specified or unspecified period of time.The term AWOL, standing for absent without leave, is a term for desertion used in armed forces of many English speaking countries....

 in England that year, and in view of his illness, was allowed to go home in July. While on leave in England and on holiday with his family in Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 in September 1927, he reappraised his life, decided not to return to Burma, and resigned from the Indian Imperial Police with the intention of becoming a writer. His Burma police experience yielded the novel Burmese Days
Burmese Days
Burmese Days is a novel by British writer George Orwell. It was first published in the USA in 1934. It is a tale from the time of the waning days of British colonialism, when Burma was ruled as part of the Indian empire - " a portrait of the dark side of the British Raj." At its centre is John...

(1934) and the essays "A Hanging
A Hanging
A Hanging is a short essay written by George Orwell, first published in August 1931 in the British literary magazine The Adelphi. Set in Burma, where Orwell had served in the British Imperial Police from 1922 to 1927, it describes the execution of a criminal.-The story:The condemned man is given...

" (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant
Shooting an Elephant
"Shooting an Elephant" is an essay by George Orwell, first published in the literary magazine New Writing in the autumn of 1936 and broadcast by the BBC Home Service on 12 October 1948....

" (1936).
In Burma, Orwell had acquired a reputation as someone who didn't fit in – he spent much of his time alone, reading or pursuing non-pukka activities such as attending the churches of the ethnic Karen
Karen people
The Karen or Kayin people , are a Sino-Tibetan language speaking ethnic group which resides primarily in southern and southeastern Burma . The Karen make up approximately 7 percent of the total Burmese population of approximately 50 million people...

 group. A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Orwell was adept at learning the language and that before he left Burma, " was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in 'very high-flown Burmese.' " Orwell wrote later that he felt guilty for his role in the machine of empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and he "began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed..." Physical marks left by Burma remained with Orwell throughout his life. "While in Burma, he acquired a moustache similar to those worn by officers of the British regiments stationed there. [He] also acquired some tattoo
Tattoo
A tattoo is made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. Tattoos on humans are a type of body modification, and tattoos on other animals are most commonly used for identification purposes...

s; on each knuckle he had a small untidy blue circle. Many Burmese living in rural areas still sport tattoos like this – they are believed to protect against bullets and snake bites."

London and Paris

In England, he settled back in the family home at Southwold, renewing acquaintance with local friends and attending an Old Etonian dinner. He visited his old tutor Gow at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer. Early in the autumn of 1927 he moved to London. Ruth Pitter
Ruth Pitter
Emma Thomas "Ruth" Pitter, CBE, FRSL was a 20th century British poet.She was the first woman to receive the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1955, and was appointed a CBE in 1979 to honour her many contributions to English literature.In 1974, she was named a "Companion of Literature", the highest...

, a family acquaintance, helped him find lodgings, and by the end of 1927 he had moved into rooms in Portobello Road
Portobello Road
Portobello Road is a street in the Notting Hill district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London, England. It runs almost the length of Notting Hill from south to north, roughly parallel with Ladbroke Grove. On Saturdays it is home to Portobello Road Market, one of London's...

;(a blue plaque
Blue plaque
A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event, serving as a historical marker....

 commemorates his residence there.) Pitter's association with the move "would have lent it a reassuring respectability in Mrs Blair's eyes." Pitter had a sympathetic interest in Blair's writing, pointed out weaknesses in his poetry, and advised him to write about what he knew. In fact he decided to write of "certain aspects of the present that he set out to know" and "ventured into the East End of London
East End of London
The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, is the area of London, England, United Kingdom, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Although not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries, the River Lea can be considered another boundary...

 – the first of the occasional sorties he would make to discover for himself the world of poverty and the down-and-outers who inhabit it. He had found a subject. These sorties, explorations, expeditions, tours or immersions were made intermittently over a period of five years."

Following the precedent of Jack London
Jack London
John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

 (and particularly The People of the Abyss
The People of the Abyss
The People of the Abyss is a book by Jack London about life in the East End of London in 1902. He wrote this first-hand account by living in the East End for several months, sometimes staying in workhouses or sleeping on the streets...

), a writer he admired, he started his exploratory expeditions slumming in the poorer parts of London. On his first outing he set out to Limehouse
Limehouse
Limehouse is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is on the northern bank of the River Thames opposite Rotherhithe and between Ratcliff to the west and Millwall to the east....

 Causeway spending his first night in a common lodging house, possibly George Levy's 'kip'. For a while he "went native" in his own country, dressing like a tramp
Tramp
A tramp is a long term homeless person who travels from place to place as a vagrant, traditionally walking or hiking all year round. In British English meanwhile a tramp simply refers to a homeless person, usually not a travelling one....

 and making no concessions to middle class mores and expectations; he recorded his experiences of the low life for later use in "The Spike
The Spike (essay)
"The Spike" is a 1931 essay by George Orwell in which he details his experience staying overnight in the casual ward of a workhouse near London...

", his first published essay, and the latter half of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London
Down and Out in Paris and London
Down and Out in Paris and London is the first full-length work by the English author George Orwell , published in 1933. It is a memoir in two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities. The first part is a picaresque account of living on the breadline in Paris and the experience of casual...

(1933).

In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where the comparatively low cost of living and bohemian lifestyle offered an attraction for many aspiring writers, and he lived in the Rue du Pot de Fer, a working class district in the Fifth Arrondissement. His Aunt Nellie Limouzin also lived in Paris and gave him social and, if necessary, financial support. He worked on novels, including an early version of Burmese Days but nothing else survives from that activity. More successful as a journalist, he published articles in Monde, a political/literary journal edited by Henri Barbusse
Henri Barbusse
Henri Barbusse was a French novelist and a member of the French Communist Party.-Life:...

, - his first article as a professional writer, La Censure en Angleterre, appeared in this paper on 6 October 1928 - G. K.'s Weekly
G. K.'s Weekly
G. K.'s Weekly was a British publication founded in 1925 by G. K. Chesterton, continuing until his death in 1936. It contained much of his later journalism, and extracts from it were published as The Outline of Sanity....

- where his first article to appear in England, A Farthing Newspaper, was printed on 29 December 1928 - and Le Progrès Civique (founded by the left-wing coalition Le Cartel des Gauches
Cartel des Gauches
The Cartel des gauches was the name of the governmental alliance between the Radical-Socialist Party and the socialist French Section of the Workers' International after World War I , which lasted until the end of the Popular Front . The Cartel des gauches twice won general elections, in 1924 and...

). Three pieces appeared in successive weeks in Progrès Civique, the first looked at unemployment, the next, a day in the life of a tramp, and the third, the beggars of London. "In one or another of its destructive forms, poverty was to become his obsessive subject – at the heart of almost everything he wrote until Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The first edition was published in 1938. The book was not published in the United States until February 1952. The American edition had a preface...

."

He fell seriously ill in February 1929 and was taken to the Hôpital Cochin in the Fifteenth arrondissement, a free hospital maintained for the teaching of medical students (the basis of his essay How the Poor Die
How the Poor Die
"How the Poor Die" is an essay first published in 1946 in Now by the English author George Orwell. Orwell gives an anecdotal account of his experiences in a French public hospital which triggers a contemplation of hospital literature in the context of 19th-century medicine.-Background:In 1928...

, published in 1946), and shortly afterwards had all his money stolen from the lodging house. Whether through necessity or simply to collect material, he undertook menial jobs like dishwashing in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, providing experiences to be used in Down and Out in Paris and London. In August 1929 he sent a copy of "The Spike" to New Adelphi
Adelphi (magazine)
The Adelphi or New Adelphi was an English literary journal published between 1923 and 1955.founded by John Middleton Murry. The first issue appeared in June 1922, with issues published monthly thereafter. Between August 1927 and September 1930 it was renamed the New Adelphi and issued quarterly...

magazine in London. This was owned by John Middleton Murry
John Middleton Murry
John Middleton Murry was an English writer. He was prolific, producing more than 60 books and thousands of essays and reviews on literature, social issues, politics, and religion during his lifetime...

 who had released editorial control to Max Plowman
Max Plowman
Max Plowman was a British writer and pacifist.-Life to 1918:He was born in Northumberland Park, Tottenham, in London. He left school at 16, and worked for a decade in his father's brick business. He became a journalist and poet...

 and Sir Richard Rees
Sir Richard Rees, 2nd Baronet
Sir Richard Lodowick Edward Montagu Rees, 2nd Baronet was a British diplomat, writer and painter.Rees was the son of Sir John Rees, 1st Baronet and his wife Mary Catherine Dormer. He was educated at West Downs School, Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge...

. Plowman accepted the work for publication.

Southwold

In December 1929, after a year and three quarters in Paris, Blair returned to England and went directly to his parents' house in Southwold, which was to remain his base for the next five years. The family was well established in the local community, and his sister Avril was running a tea house in the town. He became acquainted with many local people including a gym teacher at St Felix Girls' School, Southwold, Brenda Salkeld, the daughter of a clergyman. Although Salkeld rejected his offer of marriage she was to remain a friend and regular correspondent about his work for many years. He also renewed friendships with older friends such as Dennis Collings, whose girlfriend Eleanor Jacques was also to play a part in his life.
In the spring he had a short stay in Bramley, Leeds with his sister Marjorie and her husband Humphrey Dakin, who was as unappreciative of Blair as when they knew each other as children. Blair was undertaking some review work for Adelphi and acting as a private tutor to a disabled child at Southwold. He followed this up by tutoring a family of three boys one of whom, Richard Peters, later became a distinguished academic. "His history in these years is marked by dualities and contrasts. There is Blair leading a respectable, outwardly eventless life at his parents' house in Southwold, writing; then in contrast, there is Blair as Burton (the name he used in his down-and-out episodes) in search of experience in the kips and spikes, in the East End, on the road, and in the hop fields of Kent." He went painting and bathing on the beach, and there he met Mabel and Francis Fierz who were later to influence his career. Over the next year he visited them in London often meeting their friend Max Plowman. Other homes available to him were those of Ruth Pitter and Richard Rees. These acted as places for him to "change" for his sporadic tramping expeditions where one of his jobs was to do domestic work at a lodgings for half a crown a day.

Meanwhile, Blair now contributed regularly to Adelphi, with "A Hanging
A Hanging
A Hanging is a short essay written by George Orwell, first published in August 1931 in the British literary magazine The Adelphi. Set in Burma, where Orwell had served in the British Imperial Police from 1922 to 1927, it describes the execution of a criminal.-The story:The condemned man is given...

" appearing in August 1931. From August to September 1931 his explorations of the lower depths continued, and extended to following the East End tradition of working in the Kent hop fields (an activity which his lead character in A Clergyman's Daughter
A Clergyman's Daughter
A Clergyman's Daughter is a 1935 novel by English author George Orwell. It tells the story of Dorothy Hare, the clergyman's daughter of the title, whose life is turned upside-down when she suffers an attack of amnesia...

also engages in), and he kept a diary covering the entire experience. At the end of this, he ended up in the Tooley Street kip, but could not stand it for long and with a financial contribution from his parents moved to Windsor Street where he stayed until Christmas. "Hop Picking", by Eric Blair, appeared in the October 1931 issue of New Statesman
New Statesman
New Statesman is a British centre-left political and cultural magazine published weekly in London. Founded in 1913, and connected with leading members of the Fabian Society, the magazine reached a circulation peak in the late 1960s....

, where Cyril Connolly was on the staff. Mabel Fierz put him in contact with Leonard Moore who was to become his literary agent
Literary agent
A literary agent is an agent who represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers and film producers and assists in the sale and deal negotiation of the same. Literary agents most often represent novelists, screenwriters and major non-fiction writers...

.

At this time Jonathan Cape
Jonathan Cape
Jonathan Cape was a London-based publisher founded in 1919 as "Page & Co" by Herbert Jonathan Cape , formerly a manager at Duckworth who had worked his way up from a position of bookshop errand boy. Cape brought with him the rights to cheap editions of the popular author Elinor Glyn and sales of...

 rejected A Scullion's Diary, the first version of Down and Out. On the advice of Richard Rees he offered it to Faber & Faber, whose editorial director, T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

, also rejected it. To conclude the year Blair attempted another exploratory venture of getting himself arrested so that he could spend Christmas in prison, but the relevant authorities did not cooperate and he returned home to Southwold after two days in a police cell.

Teaching

In April 1932 Blair took a job teaching at The Hawthorns High School, a prep school for boys in Hayes
Hayes, Hillingdon
Hayes is a town in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. It is a suburban development situated west of Charing Cross. Hayes was developed in the late 19th and 20th centuries as an industrial locality to which residential districts were later added in order to house factory workers...

, West London. This was a small school that provided private schooling for children of local tradesmen and shopkeepers and comprised only 20 boys and one other master. While at the school he became friendly with the local curate and became involved with the local church. Mabel Fierz had pursued matters with Moore, and at the end of June 1932, Moore told Blair that Victor Gollancz
Victor Gollancz
Sir Victor Gollancz was a British publisher, socialist, and humanitarian.-Early life:Born in Maida Vale, London, he was the son of a wholesale jeweller and nephew of Rabbi Professor Sir Hermann Gollancz and Professor Sir Israel Gollancz; after being educated at St Paul's School, London and taking...

 was prepared to publish A Scullion's Diary for a £40 advance, for his recently founded publishing house, Victor Gollancz Ltd
Victor Gollancz Ltd
Victor Gollancz Ltd was a major British book publishing house of the twentieth century. It was founded in 1927 by Victor Gollancz and specialised in the publication of high quality literature, nonfiction and popular fiction, including science fiction. Upon Gollancz's death in 1967, ownership...

, which was an outlet for radical and socialist works.

At the end of the school summer term in 1932 Blair returned to Southwold, where his parents had been able to buy their own home as a result of a legacy. Blair and his sister Avril spent the summer holidays making the house habitable while he also worked on Burmese Days. He was also spending time with Eleanor Jacques but her attachment to Dennis Collings remained an obstacle to his hopes of a more serious relationship.
"Clink", an essay describing his failed attempt to get sent to prison, appeared in the August 1932 number of Adelphi. He returned to teaching at Hayes and prepared for the publication of his work now known as Down and Out in Paris and London which he wished to publish under an assumed name in order to avoid potential embarrassment to his family for having been a tramp. In a letter to Moore (dated 15 November 1932) he left the choice of pseudonym to him and to Gollancz. Four days later, he wrote to Moore, suggesting the pseudonyms P. S. Burton (a name he used when tramping), Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. He finally adopted the nom de plume George Orwell because, as he told Eleanor Jacques, "It is a good round English name." Down and Out in Paris and London was published on 9 January 1933. He had little free time and was still working on Burmese Days. Down and Out was successful and it was published by Harper and Brothers in New York.

In the summer of 1933 Blair finished at Hawthorns to take up a teaching job at Frays College
Frays River
Frays River is a river in England that branches off the River Colne at Uxbridge Moor and rejoins it at West Drayton.The Frays River leaves the River Colne between Uxbridge and Denham, Buckinghamshire at Denham Weir. It passes Cowley and Yiewsley where it is joined by the River Pinn. It is also...

, in Uxbridge
Uxbridge
Uxbridge is a large town located in north west London, England and is the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Hillingdon. It forms part of the ceremonial county of Greater London. It is located west-northwest of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres...

, West London. This was a much larger establishment with 200 pupils and a full complement of staff. He acquired a motorcycle and took trips through the surrounding countryside. On one of these expeditions he became soaked and caught a chill which developed into pneumonia. He was taken to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital where for a time his life was believed to be in danger. When he was discharged in January 1934, he returned to Southwold to convalesce and, supported by his parents, never returned to teaching.

He was disappointed when Gollancz turned down Burmese Days, mainly on the grounds of potential libel actions but Harpers were prepared to publish it in the United States. Meanwhile back at home Blair started work on the novel A Clergyman's Daughter
A Clergyman's Daughter
A Clergyman's Daughter is a 1935 novel by English author George Orwell. It tells the story of Dorothy Hare, the clergyman's daughter of the title, whose life is turned upside-down when she suffers an attack of amnesia...

drawing upon his life as a teacher and on life in Southwold. Eleanor Jacques was now married and had gone to Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and Brenda Salkield had left for Ireland, so Blair was relatively lonely in Southwold — pottering on the allotment
Allotment (gardening)
An allotment garden, often called simply an allotment, is a plot of land made available for individual, non-professional gardening. Such plots are formed by subdividing a piece of land into a few or up to several hundreds of land parcels that are assigned to individuals or families...

s, walking alone and spending time with his father. Eventually in October, after sending A Clergyman's Daughter to Moore, he left for London to take a job that had been found for him by his Aunt Nellie Limouzin.

Hampstead

This job was as a part-time assistant in "Booklovers' Corner", a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead run by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope who were friends of Nellie Limouzin in the Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

 movement. The Westropes had an easy-going outlook and provided him with comfortable accommodation at Warwick Mansions, Pond Street. He was job sharing with Jon Kimche
Jon Kimche
Jon Kimche was a journalist and historian . A Swiss Jew, he arrived in England at the age of 12, becoming involved in the Independent Labour Party as a young man. In 1934–35, he worked with George Orwell in a Hampstead bookshop, Booklover’s Corner, and he later managed the ILP's bookshop at 35...

 who also lived with the Westropes. Blair worked at the shop in the afternoons, having the mornings free to write and the evenings to socialise. These experiences provided background for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, first published 1936, is a socially critical novel by George Orwell. It is set in 1930s London. The main theme is Gordon Comstock's romantic ambition to defy worship of the money-god and status, and the dismal life that results....

(1936). As well as the various guests of the Westropes, he was able to enjoy the company of Richard Rees and the Adelphi writers and Mabel Fierz. The Westropes and Kimche were members of the Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893. The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave...

 although at this time Blair was not seriously politically aligned. He was writing for the Adelphi and dealing with pre-publication issues with A Clergymans Daughter and Burmese Days.

At the beginning of 1935 he had to move out of Warwick Mansions, and Mabel Fierz found him a flat in Parliament Hill. A Clergyman's Daughter was published on 11 March 1935. In the spring of 1935 Blair met his future wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy
Eileen O'Shaughnessy
Eileen Maud O'Shaughnessy was the first wife of British writer George Orwell.O'Shaughnessy was born in South Shields, County Durham, in the north-east of England, the only daughter of Marie O'Shaughnessy and Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, who was a customs collector...

 when his landlady, Rosalind Obermeyer, who was studying for a masters degree in psychology at University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

, invited some of her fellow students to a party. One of these students, the future translator of Chekhov
Chekhov
- People :* Alexander Chekhov, older brother of Anton Chekhov* Anton Chekhov , Russian writer** Chekhov Gymnasium, school, and now museum in Taganrog** Chekhov Library, public library in Taganrog** Anton Chekhov class motorship...

 and author of memoirs Elizaveta Fen, later recalled Orwell and his friend Richard Rees 'draped' at the fireplace, looking, she thought, 'moth-eaten and prematurely aged.' Around this time, Blair had started to write reviews for the New English Weekly
New English Weekly
The New English Weekly was a leading review of "Public Affairs, Literature and the Arts."It was founded in April 1932 by Alfred Richard Orage shortly after his return from Paris...

.

In June, Burmese Days was published and following Connolly's review of it in the New Statesman, the two re-established contact. In August Blair moved into a flat in Kentish Town
Kentish Town
Kentish Town is an area of north west London, England in the London Borough of Camden.-History:The most widely accepted explanation of the name of Kentish Town is that it derived from 'Ken-ditch' meaning the 'bed of a waterway'...

 which he shared with Michael Sayers and Rayner Heppenstall
Rayner Heppenstall
John Rayner Heppenstall was a British novelist, poet, diarist, and a BBC radio producer.-Early life:...

. The relationship was sometimes awkward, Orwell and Heppenstall even coming to blows, though they remained friends and later worked together on BBC broadcasts. He was working on Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and also tried to write a serial for the News Chronicle
News Chronicle
The News Chronicle was a British daily newspaper. It ceased publication on 17 October 1960, being absorbed into the Daily Mail. Its offices were in Bouverie Street, off Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8DP, England.-Daily Chronicle:...

, which was an unsuccessful venture. By October 1935 his flat-mates had moved out, and he was struggling to pay the rent on his own. He remained until the end of January 1936 when he stopped working at Booklovers' Corner.

The Road to Wigan Pier

At this time, Victor Gollancz suggested Orwell spend a short time investigating social conditions in economically depressed northern England
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

. Two years earlier J. B. Priestley
J. B. Priestley
John Boynton Priestley, OM , known as J. B. Priestley, was an English novelist, playwright and broadcaster. He published 26 novels, notably The Good Companions , as well as numerous dramas such as An Inspector Calls...

 had written of England north of the Trent and this had stimulated an interest in reportage. Furthermore the depression had introduced a number of working-class writers from the North of England to the reading public.

On 31 January 1936, Orwell set out by public transport and on foot via Coventry
Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

, Stafford, the Potteries
Staffordshire Potteries
The Staffordshire Potteries is a generic term for the industrial area encompassing the six towns that now make up Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire, England....

 and Macclesfield
Macclesfield
Macclesfield is a market town within the unitary authority of Cheshire East, the county palatine of Chester, also known as the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The population of the Macclesfield urban sub-area at the time of the 2001 census was 50,688...

, reaching Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. Arriving after the banks had closed, he had to stay in a common lodging house. Next day he picked up a list of contact addresses sent by Richard Rees. One of these, trade union official Frank Meade, suggested Wigan
Wigan
Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It stands on the River Douglas, south-west of Bolton, north of Warrington and west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre. The town of Wigan had a total...

, where Orwell spent February staying in dirty lodgings over a tripe
Tripe
Tripe is a type of edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals.-Beef tripe:...

 shop. At Wigan, he gained entry to many houses to see how people lived, took systematic notes of housing conditions and wages earned, went down a coal mine, and spent days at the local public library consulting public health records and reports on working conditions in mines.

During this time he was distracted by dealing with libel and stylistic issues relating to Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He made a quick visit to Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 and spent March in south Yorkshire, spending time in Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 and Barnsley
Barnsley
Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Dearne, north of the city of Sheffield, south of Leeds and west of Doncaster. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and...

. As well as visiting mines, including Grimethorpe
Grimethorpe
Grimethorpe is a large village which is part of the metropolitan borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 1,873....

, and observing social conditions, he attended meetings of the Communist Party and of Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, was an English politician, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists...

 - "his speech the usual claptrap—The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews" - where he saw the tactics of the Blackshirts
British Union of Fascists
The British Union was a political party in the United Kingdom formed in 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley as the British Union of Fascists, in 1936 it changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists and then in 1937 to simply the British Union...

 - "one is liable to get both a hammering and a fine for asking a question which Mosley finds it difficult to answer." He punctuated his stay with visits to his sister at Headingley
Headingley
Headingley is a suburb of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It is approximately two miles out of the city centre, to the north west along the A660 road...

, during which he visited the Brontë Parsonage
Brontë Parsonage Museum
The Brontë Parsonage Museum is maintained by the Brontë Society in honour of the famed Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë – in their old home located in Haworth, West Yorkshire, an area of England covered in much open, expansive moorland...

 at Haworth
Haworth
Haworth is a rural village in the City of Bradford metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, England. It is located amongst the Pennines, southwest of Keighley and west of Bradford. The surrounding areas include Oakworth and Oxenhope...

, where he was "chiefly impressed by a pair of Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards...

's cloth-topped boots, very small, with square toes and lacing up at the sides.
"

His investigations gave rise to The Road to Wigan Pier
The Road to Wigan Pier
The Road to Wigan Pier is a book by the British writer George Orwell, first published in 1937. The first half of this work documents his sociological investigations of the bleak living conditions amongst the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the industrial north of England before World...

, published by Gollancz for the Left Book Club
Left Book Club
The Left Book Club, founded in 1936, was a key left-wing institution of the late 1930s and 1940s in the United Kingdom set up by Stafford Cripps, Victor Gollancz and John Strachey to revitalise and educate the British Left. The Club's aim was to "help in the struggle For world peace and against...

 in 1937. The first half of this work documents his social investigations of Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

 and Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

. It begins with an evocative description of working life in the coal mines. The second half is a long essay on his upbringing and the development of his political conscience, which includes criticism of some of the groups on the left. Gollancz feared the second half would offend readers and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain.

Orwell needed somewhere where he could concentrate on writing his book, and once again help was provided by Aunt Nellie who was living in a cottage at Wallington, Hertfordshire
Wallington, Hertfordshire
Wallington is a small village and civil parish in the county of Hertfordshire, near the town of Baldock. Nearby villages include Rushden and Sandon.-George Orwell:...

. It was a very small cottage which had been built in the sixteenth century called the "Stores", with almost no modern facilities, in a tiny village some thrirty-five miles north of London. Orwell took over the tenancy and moved in on 2 April 1936. He started work on Wigan Pier by the end of April and, as well as writing, spent hours working on the garden and investigated the possibility of reopening the Stores as a village shop. Keep the Aspidistra Flying was published by Gollancz on 20 April 1936. On 4 August Orwell gave a talk at the Adelphi Summer School held at Langham
Langham, Essex
Langham is a small village in the north east of Essex, England.-History:There is little evidence of pre Roman occupation of what is now Langham but the Romans built a villa at the north end of the village close to the River Stour and the Roman Road from Colchester into Suffolk also ran to the east...

, entitled An Outsider Sees the Distressed Areas; others who spoke at the School included John Strachey, Max Plowman
Max Plowman
Max Plowman was a British writer and pacifist.-Life to 1918:He was born in Northumberland Park, Tottenham, in London. He left school at 16, and worked for a decade in his father's brick business. He became a journalist and poet...

, Karl Polanyi
Karl Polanyi
Karl Paul Polanyi was a Hungarian philosopher, political economist and economic anthropologist known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and his book The Great Transformation...

 and Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr
Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr was an American theologian and commentator on public affairs. Starting as a leftist minister in the 1920s indebted to theological liberalism, he shifted to the new Neo-Orthodox theology in the 1930s, explaining how the sin of pride created evil in the world...

.

Orwell's research for The Road to Wigan Pier led to him being placed under surveillance by the Special Branch in 1936, for 12 years, until 1 year before the publication of 1984.

Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy on 9 June 1936. Shortly afterwards, the political crisis began in Spain and Orwell followed developments there closely. At the end of the year, concerned by Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

's Falangist uprising
Falange
The Spanish Phalanx of the Assemblies of the National Syndicalist Offensive , known simply as the Falange, is the name assigned to several political movements and parties dating from the 1930s, most particularly the original fascist movement in Spain. The word means phalanx formation in Spanish....

, Orwell decided to go to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 on the Republican side
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

. Under the erroneous impression that he needed papers to cross the frontier, on John Strachey's recommendation Orwell applied unsuccessfully to Harry Pollitt
Harry Pollitt
Harry Pollitt was the head of the trade union department of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the General Secretary of the party for more than 20 years.- Early life :...

, leader of the British Communist Party, who suggested joining the International Brigade and advised him to get safe passage from the Spanish Embassy in Paris. Not wishing to commit himself until he'd seen the situation in situ, Orwell instead used his Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893. The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave...

 contacts to get a letter of introduction to John McNair in Barcelona.

The Spanish Civil War and Catalonia

Orwell set out for Spain on about 23 December, dining with Henry Miller
Henry Miller
Henry Valentine Miller was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is...

 in Paris on the way. A few days later at Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, he met John McNair of the Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893. The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave...

 (ILP) Office who quoted him: "I've come to fight against Fascism". Orwell stepped into a complex political situation in Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. The Republican government
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 was supported by a number of factions with conflicting aims, including the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification
Workers' Party of Marxist Unification
The Workers' Party of Marxist Unification was a Spanish communist political party formed during the Second Republic and mainly active around the Spanish Civil War...

 (POUM — Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo
Confederación Nacional del Trabajo
The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo is a Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labor unions affiliated with the International Workers Association . When working with the latter group it is also known as CNT-AIT...

 and the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia
Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia
The Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia , was formed on July 23, 1936 through the unification of four left-wing groups; the Catalan Federation of Spanish Socialist Workers' Party , the Partit Comunista de Catalunya , the Unió Socialista de Catalunya and the...

 (a wing of the Spanish Communist Party, which was backed by Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 arms and aid). The ILP was linked to the POUM and so Orwell joined the POUM.

After a time at the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona he was sent to the relatively quiet Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 Front under Georges Kopp
Georges Kopp
Georges Kopp, was an engineer who had lived in Belgium for about 25 years and volunteered to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, rising to become commander of the 3rd Regiment, Lenin Division, a militia unit belonging to the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification which saw active...

. By January 1937 he was at Alcubierre
Alcubierre
This article is about a city in Spain, for the speculative warp drive model see Alcubierre driveAlcubierre is a municipality located in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain. According to the 2004 census , the municipality has a population of 439 inhabitants.This town gives its name to the Sierra...

 1500 feet (457.2 m) above sea level in the depth of winter. There was very little military action, and the lack of equipment and other deprivations made it uncomfortable. Orwell, with his Cadet Corps and police training was quickly made a corporal. On the arrival of a British ILP Contingent
ILP Contingent
The British Independent Labour Party sent a small contingent to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The contingent fought with the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification and included George Orwell, who subsequently wrote about his experiences in his widely-read account Homage to Catalonia.-Contingent...

 about three weeks later, Orwell and the other English militiaman, Williams, were sent with them to Monte Oscuro. The newly-arrived ILP contingent included Bob Smillie, Bob Edwards
Robert Edwards (politician)
Robert Edwards , usually known as Bob Edwards, was a British trade unionist and an Independent Labour Party and Labour Co-operative politician. He was a Member of Parliament from 1955 to 1987....

, Stafford Cottman and Jack Branthwaite. The unit was then sent on to Huesca
Huesca
Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca....

.

Meanwhile, back in England, Eileen had been handling the issues relating to the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier before setting out for Spain herself, leaving Aunt Nellie Limouzin to look after The Stores. Eileen volunteered for a post in John McNair's office and with the help of Georges Kopp paid visits to her husband, bringing him English tea, chocolate and cigars. Orwell had to spend some days in hospital with a poisoned hand and had most of his possessions stolen by the staff. He returned to the front and saw some action in night attack on the Nationalist trenches where he chased an enemy soldier with a bayonet and bombed an enemy rifle position.

In April, Orwell returned to Barcelona. Wanting to be sent to the Madrid front, which meant he "must join the International Column", he approached a Communist friend attached to the Spanish Medical Aid and explained his case. "Although he did not think much of the Communists, Orwell was still ready to treat them as friends and allies. That would soon change." This was the time of the Barcelona May Days
Barcelona May Days
Barcelona May Days were a period of civil violence in Catalonia, between May 3 and May 8, 1937, when factions on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War engaged each other in street battles in the city of Barcelona.Clashes began when units of the Assault Guard – under the...

 and Orwell was caught up in the factional fighting. He spent much of the time on a roof, with a stack of novels, but encountered Jon Kimche
Jon Kimche
Jon Kimche was a journalist and historian . A Swiss Jew, he arrived in England at the age of 12, becoming involved in the Independent Labour Party as a young man. In 1934–35, he worked with George Orwell in a Hampstead bookshop, Booklover’s Corner, and he later managed the ILP's bookshop at 35...

 from his Hampstead days during the stay. The subsequent campaign of lies and distortion carried out by the Communist press, in which the POUM was accused of collaborating with the fascists, had a dramatic effect on Orwell. Instead of joining the International Brigades as he had intended, he decided to return to the Aragon Front. Once the May fighting was over, he was approached by a Communist friend who asked if he still intended transferring to the International Brigades. Orwell expressed surprise that they should still want him, because according to the Communist press he was a fascist. "No one who was in Barcelona then, or for months later, will forget the horrible atmosphere produced by fear, suspicion, hatred, censored newspapers, crammed jails, enormous food queues and prowling gangs of armed men."

After his return to the front, he was wounded in the throat by a sniper's bullet. Orwell was considerably taller than the Spanish fighters and had been warned against standing against the trench parapet. Unable to speak, and with blood pouring from his mouth, Orwell was carried on a stretcher to Siétamo
Siétamo
Siétamo is a municipality located in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain, in the comarca of Hoya de Huesca. Birthplace of the Count of Aranda and Cardinal Javierre....

, loaded on an ambulance and after a bumpy journey via Barbastro
Barbastro
Barbastro is a city in the Somontano county, province of Huesca, Spain...

 arrived at the hospital at Lleida
Lleida
Lleida is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. It is the capital city of the province of Lleida, as well as the largest city in the province and it had 137,387 inhabitants , including the contiguous municipalities of Raimat and Sucs. The metro area has about 250,000 inhabitants...

. He recovered sufficiently to get up and on 27 May 1937 was sent on to Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

 and two days later to a POUM sanatorium in the suburbs of Barcelona. The bullet had missed his main artery by the barest margin and his voice was barely audible. He received electrotherapy
Electrotherapy
Electrotherapy is the use of electrical energy as a medical treatment In medicine, the term electrotherapy can apply to a variety of treatments, including the use of electrical devices such as deep brain stimulators for neurological disease. The term has also been applied specifically to the use of...

 treatment and was declared medically unfit for service.

By the middle of June the political situation in Barcelona had deteriorated and the POUM — painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organisation — was outlawed and under attack. The Communist line was that the POUM were 'objectively' Fascist, hindering the Republican cause. " A particularly nasty poster appeared, showing a head with a POUM mask being ripped off to reveal a Swastika-covered face beneath. " Members, including Kopp, were arrested and others were in hiding. Orwell and his wife were under threat and had to lie low, although they broke cover to try to help Kopp.

Finally with their passports in order, they escaped from Spain by train, diverting to Banyuls-sur-Mer
Banyuls-sur-Mer
Banyuls-sur-Mer is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.-Geography:Banyuls-sur-Mer is neighbored by Cerbère, Port-Vendres, Argelès-sur-Mer and Collioure. The region is known for its wines, such as the sweet wine Banyuls. An aquatic museum with aquarium is located in...

 for a short stay before returning to England. In the first week of July 1937 Orwell arrived back at Wallington; on 13 July 1937 a deposition was presented to the Tribunal for Espionage & High Treason, Valencia, charging the Orwells with 'rabid Trotskyism
Trotskyism
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

', and being agents of the POUM. Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War gave rise to Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The first edition was published in 1938. The book was not published in the United States until February 1952. The American edition had a preface...

(1938).

Rest and recuperation

Orwell returned to England in June 1937, and stayed at the O'Shaughnessy home at Greenwich. He found his views on the Spanish Civil War out of favour. Kingsley Martin
Kingsley Martin
Basil Kingsley Martin was a British journalist who edited the left-leaning political magazine the New Statesman from 1930 to 1960....

 rejected two of his works and Gollancz was equally cautious. At the same time, the communist Daily Worker
The Morning Star
The Morning Star is a left wing British daily tabloid newspaper with a focus on social and trade union issues. Articles and comment columns are contributed by writers from socialist, social democratic, green and religious perspectives....

was running an attack on The Road to Wigan Pier, misquoting Orwell as saying "the working classes smell"; a letter to Gollancz from Orwell threatening libel action brought a stop to this. Orwell was also able to find a more sympathetic publisher for his views in Frederic Warburg of Secker & Warburg. Orwell returned to Wallington, which he found in disarray after his absence. He acquired goats, a rooster he called "Henry Ford", and a poodle puppy he called "Marx" and settled down to animal husbandry and writing Homage to Catalonia.

There were thoughts of going to India to work on the Pioneer, a newspaper in Lucknow
Lucknow
Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh in India. Lucknow is the administrative headquarters of Lucknow District and Lucknow Division....

, but by March 1938 Orwell's health had deteriorated. He was admitted to Preston Hall Sanatorium at Aylesford, Kent, a British Legion hospital for ex-servicemen to which his brother-in-law Laurence O'Shaughnessy was attached. He was thought initially to be suffering from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 and stayed in the sanatorium until September. A stream of visitors came to see him including Common, Heppenstall, Plowman and Cyril Connolly. Connolly brought with him Stephen Spender
Stephen Spender
Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE was an English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work...

, a cause of some embarrassment as Orwell had referred to Spender as a "pansy friend" some time earlier. Homage to Catalonia was published by Secker & Warburg and was a commercial flop. In the latter part of his stay at the clinic Orwell was able to go for walks in the countryside and study nature.

The novelist L.H. Myers
Leo Myers
-Life:He was born in Cambridge into a cultured family; his father was the writer Frederic William Henry Myers and his mother the photographer Eveleen Tennant. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge...

 secretly funded a trip to French Morocco
French Morocco
French Protectorate of Morocco was a French protectorate in Morocco, established by the Treaty of Fez. French Morocco did not include the north of the country, which was a Spanish protectorate...

 for half a year for Orwell to avoid the English winter and recover his health. The Orwells set out in September 1938 via Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 and Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

 to avoid Spanish Morocco
Spanish Morocco
The Spanish protectorate of Morocco was the area of Morocco under colonial rule by the Spanish Empire, established by the Treaty of Fez in 1912 and ending in 1956, when both France and Spain recognized Moroccan independence.-Territorial borders:...

 and arrived at Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech or Marrakesh , known as the "Ochre city", is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history...

. They rented a villa on the road to Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

 and during that time Orwell wrote Coming Up for Air
Coming Up for Air
Coming Up for Air is a novel by George Orwell, first published in June 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. It combines premonitions of the impending war with images of an idyllic Thames-side Edwardian era childhood...

. They arrived back in England on 30 March 1939 and Coming Up for Air was published in June. Orwell spent time in Wallington and Southwold working on a Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

 essay and it was in July 1939 that Orwell's father, Richard Blair, died.

World War II and Animal Farm

On the outbreak of World War II, Orwell's wife Eileen started work in the Censorship Department in London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

. Orwell also submitted his name to the Central Register for war effort but nothing transpired. He returned to Wallington, and in the autumn of 1939 he wrote material for Inside the Whale and Other Essays
Inside the Whale and Other Essays
Inside the Whale and Other Essays is a book of essays written by George Orwell in 1940. It includes the eponymous essay Inside the Whale.-Background:...

. For the next year he was occupied writing reviews for plays, films and books for The Listener, Time and Tide
Time and Tide (magazine)
Time and Tide was a British weekly political and literary review magazine founded by Margaret, Lady Rhondda in 1920. It started out as a supporter of left wing and feminist causes and the mouthpiece of the feminist Six Point Group. It later moved to the right along with the views of its owner...

and New Adelphi. At the beginning of 1940, the first edition of Connolly's Horizon
Horizon (magazine)
Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art was an influential literary magazine published in London, between 1940 and 1949. It was edited by Cyril Connolly who gave a platform to a wide range of distinguished and emerging writers....

appeared, and this provided a new outlet for Orwell's work as well as new literary contacts. In May the Orwells took lease of a flat in London at Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, Marylebone
Marylebone
Marylebone is an affluent inner-city area of central London, located within the City of Westminster. It is sometimes written as St. Marylebone or Mary-le-bone....

. It was the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the death in France of Eileen's brother Lawrence caused her considerable grief and long-term depression.

Orwell was declared "unfit for any kind of military service" by the Medical Board in June, but soon afterwards found an opportunity to become involved in war activities by joining the Home Guard
British Home Guard
The Home Guard was a defence organisation of the British Army during the Second World War...

. He shared Tom Wintringham
Tom Wintringham
Thomas Henry Wintringham was a British soldier, military historian, journalist, poet, Marxist, politician and author. He was an important figure in the formation of the Home Guard during World War II and was one of the founders of the Common Wealth Party.-Early life:Tom Wintringham was born 1898...

's socialist vision for the Home Guard as a revolutionary People's Militia. Sergeant Orwell managed to recruit Frederic Warburg to his unit. During the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 he used to spend weekends with Warburg and his new friend Zionist Tosco Fyvel at Twyford, Berkshire
Twyford, Berkshire
For other places of the same name, see Twyford.Twyford is a village and civil parish in the English Royal county of Berkshire. It is situated, at , in the heart of the Thames Valley on the A4 between Reading and Maidenhead, close to Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham.-History:The town's name is...

. At Wallington he worked on "England Your England
England Your England
"England Your England" is an essay written by the British author George Orwell during The Blitz of 1941 as bombers of Nazi Germany flew overhead. It is his attempt to define British culture and the British people for the rest of the world as he fears that it might soon be wiped from earth by the...

" and in London wrote reviews for various periodicals. Visiting Eileen's family in Greenwich brought him face-to-face with the effects of the blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 on East London.

Early in 1941 he started writing for the American Partisan Review
Partisan Review
Partisan Review was an American political and literary quarterly published from 1934 to 2003, though it suspended publication between October 1936 and December 1937.-Overview:...

and contributed to Gollancz' anthology The Betrayal of the Left, written in the light of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (although Orwell referred to it as the Russo-German Pact and the Hitler-Stalin Pact ). He also applied unsuccessfully for a job at the Air Ministry
Air Ministry
The Air Ministry was a department of the British Government with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Royal Air Force, that existed from 1918 to 1964...

. In the Home Guard his mishandling of a mortar put two of his unit in hospital. Meanwhile he was still writing reviews of books and plays and at this time met the novelist Anthony Powell
Anthony Powell
Anthony Dymoke Powell CH, CBE was an English novelist best known for his twelve-volume work A Dance to the Music of Time, published between 1951 and 1975....

. He also took part in a few radio broadcasts for the Eastern Service of the BBC. In March the Orwells moved to St John's Wood
St John's Wood
St John's Wood is a district of north-west London, England, in the City of Westminster, and at the north-west end of Regent's Park. It is approximately 2.5 miles north-west of Charing Cross. Once part of the Great Middlesex Forest, it was later owned by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem...

 in a 7th floor flat at Langford Court, while at Wallington Orwell was "digging for victory" by planting potatoes.

In August 1941, Orwell finally obtained "war work" when he was taken on full time by the BBC's Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. This was Orwell's first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office. However it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

, Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...

, E. M. Forster
E. M. Forster
Edward Morgan Forster OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society...

, Ahmed Ali
Ahmed Ali
Ahmed Ali was an Indian novelist, poet, critic, translator, diplomat and scholar, who was responsible for writing Twilight in Delhi. Born in Delhi, India, he was involved in progressive literary movements as a young man...

, Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand was an Indian writer in English, notable for his depiction of the lives of the poorer castes in traditional Indian society. One of the pioneers of Indo-Anglian fiction, he, together with R.K...

, and William Empson
William Empson
Sir William Empson was an English literary critic and poet.He was known as "燕卜荪" in Chinese.He was widely influential for his practice of closely reading literary works, fundamental to the New Critics...

 among others.

At the end of August he had a dinner with H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

 which degenerated into a row because Wells had taken offence at observations Orwell made about him in a Horizon article. In October Orwell had a bout of bronchitis and the illness recurred frequently. David Astor
David Astor
Francis David Langhorne Astor CH was an English newspaper publisher and member of the Astor family.-Early life and career:...

 was looking for a provocative contributor for The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

and invited Orwell to write for him — the first article appearing in March 1942. In spring of 1942 Eileen changed jobs to work at the Ministry of Food and Orwell's mother and sister Avril took war work in London and came to stay with the Orwells. In the summer, they all moved to a basement at Mortimer Crescent in Kilburn.

At the BBC, Orwell introduced Voice, a literary programme for his Indian broadcasts, and by now was leading an active social life with literary friends, particularly on the political left. Late in 1942, he started writing for the left-wing weekly Tribune
Tribune (magazine)
Tribune is a democratic socialist weekly, founded in 1937 published in London. It is independent but supports the Labour Party from the left...

directed by Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 MPs Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

 and George Strauss
George Strauss
George Russell Strauss, Baron Strauss PC was a long-serving British Labour Party politician, who was a Member of Parliament for 46 years and was Father of the House of Commons from 1974 to 1979....

. In March 1943 Orwell's mother died and around the same time he told Moore he was starting work on a new book, which would turn out to be Animal Farm
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...

.

In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years. His resignation followed a report confirming his fears that few Indians listened to the broadcasts, but he was also keen to concentrate on writing Animal Farm. At this time he was also discharged from the Home Guard.

In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche
Jon Kimche
Jon Kimche was a journalist and historian . A Swiss Jew, he arrived in England at the age of 12, becoming involved in the Independent Labour Party as a young man. In 1934–35, he worked with George Orwell in a Hampstead bookshop, Booklover’s Corner, and he later managed the ILP's bookshop at 35...

. On 24 December 1943, Tribune published, under the authorship of "John Freeman" – possibly in reference to the British politician – the short essay "Can Socialists Be Happy?", which has since been widely attributed to Orwell; see Bibliography of George Orwell. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews as well as the regular column "As I Please
As I Please
"As I Please" was a series of articles written for the British left-wing newspaper Tribune by author and journalist George Orwell.On resigning from his job at the BBC in November 1943, Orwell joined Tribune as literary editor...

". He was still writing reviews for other magazines, and becoming a respected pundit among left-wing circles but also close friends with people on the right like Powell, Astor and Malcolm Muggeridge
Malcolm Muggeridge
Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy...

. By April 1944 Animal Farm was ready for publication. Gollancz refused to publish it, considering it an attack on the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 regime which was a crucial ally in the war. A similar fate was met from other publishers (including T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

 at Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing a great deal of poetry and for its former editor T. S. Eliot. Faber has a rich tradition of publishing a wide range of fiction, non fiction, drama, film and music...

) until Jonathan Cape
Jonathan Cape
Jonathan Cape was a London-based publisher founded in 1919 as "Page & Co" by Herbert Jonathan Cape , formerly a manager at Duckworth who had worked his way up from a position of bookshop errand boy. Cape brought with him the rights to cheap editions of the popular author Elinor Glyn and sales of...

 agreed to take it.

In May the Orwells had the opportunity to adopt a child, thanks to the contacts of Eileen's sister Gwen O'Shaughnassy, then a doctor in Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

. In June a V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

 landed on Mortimer Crescent and the Orwells had to find somewhere else to live. Orwell had to scrabble around in the rubble for his collection of books, which he had finally managed to transfer from Wallington, carting them away in a wheelbarrow.

Another bombshell was Cape's reversal of his plan to publish Animal Farm. The decision followed his personal visit to Peter Smollett, an official at the Ministry of Information. Smollett was later identified as a Soviet agent.

The Orwells spent some time in the North East, near Carlton
Carlton, County Durham
Carlton is a village and civil parish within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees and ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is situated a few miles to the north-west of Stockton-on-Tees, a short distance from the village of Redmarshall. Located within the village are Carlton Village Stores and...

 in County Durham
County Durham
County Durham is a ceremonial county and unitary district in north east England. The county town is Durham. The largest settlement in the ceremonial county is the town of Darlington...

, dealing with matters in the adoption of a boy whom they named Richard Horatio. In October 1944 they had set up home in Islington
Islington
Islington is a neighbourhood in Greater London, England and forms the central district of the London Borough of Islington. It is a district of Inner London, spanning from Islington High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy Upper Street...

 in a flat on the 7th floor of a block. Baby Richard joined them there, and Eileen gave up work to look after her family. Secker and Warburg
Secker and Warburg
Harvill Secker is a British publishing company formed in 2004 from the merger of Secker and Warburg and the Harvill Press.Secker and Warburg was formed in 1936 from a takeover of Martin Secker, which was in receivership, by Fredric Warburg and Roger Senhouse...

 had agreed to publish Animal Farm, planned for the following March, although it did not appear in print until August 1945. By February 1945 David Astor had invited Orwell to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Orwell had been looking for the opportunity throughout the war, but his failed medical reports prevented him from being allowed anywhere near action. He went to Paris after the liberation of France and to Cologne once it had been occupied by the Allies.

It was while he was there that Eileen went into hospital for a hysterectomy
Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, usually performed by a gynecologist. Hysterectomy may be total or partial...

 and died under anaesthetic on 29 March 1945. She had not given Orwell much notice about this operation because of worries about the cost and because she expected to make a speedy recovery. Orwell returned home for a while and then went back to Europe. He returned finally to London to cover the 1945 UK General Election at the beginning of July. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...

was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the U.S., on 26 August 1946.

Jura and Nineteen Eighty-Four

Animal Farm struck a particular resonance in the post-war climate and its worldwide success made Orwell a sought-after figure.

For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work — mainly for the Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
The Manchester Evening News is a regional daily newspaper covering Greater Manchester in the United Kingdom. It is published every day except Sunday and is owned by Trinity Mirror plc following its sale by Guardian Media Group in early 2010. It has an average daily circulation of 90,973 copies...

, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazine
Literary magazine
A literary magazine is a periodical devoted to literature in a broad sense. Literary magazines usually publish short stories, poetry and essays along with literary criticism, book reviews, biographical profiles of authors, interviews and letters...

s — with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

, which was published in 1949.

In the year following Eileen's death he published around 130 articles and was active in various political lobbying campaigns. He employed a housekeeper, Susan Watson, to look after his adopted son at the Islington
Islington
Islington is a neighbourhood in Greater London, England and forms the central district of the London Borough of Islington. It is a district of Inner London, spanning from Islington High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy Upper Street...

 flat, which visitors now described as "bleak". In September he spent a fortnight on the island of Jura
Jura, Scotland
Jura is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, situated adjacent and to the north-east of Islay. Part of the island is designated as a National Scenic Area. Until the twentieth century Jura was dominated - and most of it was eventually owned - by the Campbell clan of Inveraray Castle on Loch...

 in the Inner Hebrides
Inner Hebrides
The Inner Hebrides is an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, to the south east of the Outer Hebrides. Together these two island chains form the Hebrides, which enjoy a mild oceanic climate. There are 36 inhabited islands and a further 43 uninhabited Inner Hebrides with an area greater than...

 and saw it as a place to escape from the hassle of London literary life. David Astor was instrumental in arranging a place for Orwell on Jura. Astor's family owned Scottish estates in the area and a fellow Old Etonian Robert Fletcher had a property on the island. During the winter of 1945 to 1946 Orwell made several hopeless and unwelcome marriage proposals to younger women, including Celia Kirwan (who was later to become Arthur Koestler
Arthur Koestler
Arthur Koestler CBE was a Hungarian author and journalist. Koestler was born in Budapest and, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria...

's sister-in-law), Ann Popham who happened to live in the same block of flats and Sonia Brownell
Sonia Brownell
Sonia Mary Brownell was the second and last wife of writer George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair. She was also known as Sonia Blair or Sonia Orwell.-Background:...

, one of Connolly's coterie at the Horizon office. Orwell suffered a tubercular haemorrhage in February 1946 but disguised his illness. In 1945 or early 1946, while still living at Canonbury Square, Orwell wrote an article on "British Cookery", complete with recipes, commissioned by the British Council
British Council
The British Council is a United Kingdom-based organisation specialising in international educational and cultural opportunities. It is registered as a charity both in England and Wales, and in Scotland...

. Given the post-war shortages, both parties agreed not to publish it. His sister Marjorie died of kidney disease in May and shortly after, on 22 May 1946, Orwell set off to live on the Isle of Jura.

Barnhill
Barnhill, Jura
Barnhill is a solitary farmhouse, remotely situated at grid reference in the north of the island of Jura in the Scottish Hebrides. It stands on the site of a larger settlement known in Gaelic since the fifteenth century as Knockintavil, the English name Barnhill having only been in use since the...

  was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near the northern end of the island, situated at the end of a five-mile (8 km), heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the owners lived. Conditions at the farmhouse were primitive but the natural history and the challenge of improving the place appealed to Orwell. His sister Avril accompanied him there and young novelist Paul Potts made up the party. In July Susan Watson arrived with Orwell's son Richard. Tensions developed and Potts departed after one of his manuscripts was used to light the fire. Orwell meanwhile set to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

. Later Susan Watson's boyfriend David Holbrook
David Holbrook
David Kenneth Holbrook was a British writer, poet and academic. From 1989 he was an Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge.-Life:...

 arrived. A fan of Orwell since schooldays, he found the reality very different, with Orwell hostile and disagreeable probably because of Holbrook's membership of the Communist Party. Susan Watson could no longer stand being with Avril and she and her boyfriend left.

Orwell returned to London in late 1946 and picked up his literary journalism again. Now a well-known writer, he was swamped with work. Apart from a visit to Jura in the new year he stayed in London for one of the coldest British winters on record and with such a national shortage of fuel that he burnt his furniture and his child's toys. The heavy smog in the days before the Clean Air Act 1956
Clean Air Act 1956
The Clean Air Act 1956 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952. It was in effect until 1964, and sponsored by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in England and the Department of Health for Scotland.The Act introduced a number of...

 did little to help his health about which he was reticent, keeping clear of medical attention. Meanwhile he had to cope with rival claims of publishers Gollancz and Warburg for publishing rights. About this time he co-edited a collection titled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds
Reginald Reynolds
Reginald Arthur Reynolds was a British left wing writer.A Quaker, he was General Secretary of the No More War Movement 1933-1937....

. As a result of the success of Animal Farm, Orwell was expecting a large bill from the Inland Revenue and he contacted a firm of accountants of which the senior partner was Jack Harrison. The firm advised Orwell to establish a company to own his copyright and to receive his royalties and set up a "service agreement" so that he could draw a salary. Such a company "George Orwell Productions Ltd" (GOP Ltd) was set up on 12 September 1947 although the service agreement was not then put into effect. Jack Harrison left the details at this stage to junior colleagues.

In April 1947 Orwell left London for good, ending the leases on the Islington flat and Wallington cottage. Back on Jura in gales and rainstorms he struggled to get on with Nineteen Eighty-Four but through the summer and autumn made good progress. During that time his sister's family visited, and Orwell led a disastrous boating expedition which nearly led to loss of life whilst trying to cross the notorious gulf of Corryvreckan and gave him a soaking which was not good for his health. In December a chest specialist was summoned from Glasgow who pronounced Orwell seriously ill and a week before Christmas 1947 he was in Hairmyres hospital in East Kilbride, then a small village in the countryside, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and the request for permission to import streptomycin
Streptomycin
Streptomycin is an antibiotic drug, the first of a class of drugs called aminoglycosides to be discovered, and was the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. It is derived from the actinobacterium Streptomyces griseus. Streptomycin is a bactericidal antibiotic. Streptomycin cannot be given...

 to treat Orwell went as far as Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

, now Minister of Health. By the end of July 1948 Orwell was able to return to Jura and by December he had finished the manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In January 1949, in a very weak condition, he set off for a sanatorium in Gloucestershire, escorted by Richard Rees.

The sanatorium at Cranham consisted of a series of small wooden chalets or huts in a remote part of the Cotswolds
Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are a range of hills in west-central England, sometimes called the Heart of England, an area across and long. The area has been designated as the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

 near Stroud
Stroud
Stroud a town and civil parish in the county of Gloucestershire, England.Stroud may also refer to:*Stroud, New South Wales, Australia*Stroud, Ontario, Canada*Stroud , Gloucestershire, UK*Stroud...

. Visitors were shocked by Orwell's appearance and concerned by the short-comings and ineffectiveness of the treatment. Friends were worried about his finances, but by now he was comparatively well-off. He was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had "rediscovered" him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department
Information Research Department
The Information Research Department, founded in 1948 by Christopher Mayhew MP, was a department of the British Foreign Office set up to counter Russian propaganda and infiltration, particularly amongst the western labour movement....

, set up by the Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell's list
Orwell's list
Orwell's list, prepared in 1949 by the English author George Orwell, shortly before he died, comprises names of notable writers and other individuals he considered to be unsuitable as possible writers for the Information Research Department's anti-communist propaganda activities.-Background:The...

, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs. Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim.

Final months and death

Orwell courted Sonia Brownell a second time during the summer, and they announced their marriage in September, shortly before he was removed to University College Hospital
University College Hospital
University College Hospital is a teaching hospital located in London, United Kingdom. It is part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is closely associated with University College London ....

 in London. Sonia took charge of Orwell's affairs and attended diligently in the hospital, causing concern to some old friends such as Muggeridge. In September 1949 Orwell invited his accountant Harrison to visit him in hospital, and Harrison claimed that Orwell then asked him to become director of GOP Ltd and to manage the company but there was no independent witness. Orwell's wedding took place in the hospital room on 13 October 1949, with David Astor as best man. Orwell was in decline and visited by an assortment of visitors including Muggeridge, Connolly, Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud
Lucian Michael Freud, OM, CH was a British painter. Known chiefly for his thickly impasted portrait and figure paintings, he was widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time...

, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh
Evelyn Waugh
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh , known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, travel books and biographies. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer...

, Paul Potts, Anthony Powell and his Eton tutor Anthony Gow. Plans to go to the Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps are the portion of the Alps mountain range that lies within Switzerland. Because of their central position within the entire Alpine range, they are also known as the Central Alps....

 were mooted. Further meetings were held with his accountant at which Harrison and Mr and Mrs Blair were confirmed as directors of the company and at which Harrison claimed that the "service agreement" was executed, giving copyright to the company. Orwell's health was in decline again by Christmas. On the evening of 20 January 1950, Potts visited Orwell and slipped away on finding him asleep. However a later visit was made by Jack Harrison who claimed that Orwell gave him 25% of the company. Early on the morning of 21 January, an artery burst in his lungs, killing him at age 46.

Orwell had requested to be buried in accordance with the Anglican rite in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die. The graveyards in central London had no space, and fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see whether any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard.

David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay
Sutton Courtenay
Sutton Courtenay is a village and civil parish on the River Thames south of Abingdon and northwest of Didcot. It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.-Today:...

, Oxfordshire and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be interred in All Saints' Churchyard there, although he had no connection with the village. His gravestone bore the simple epitaph: "Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born 25 June 1903, died 21 January 1950"; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name.

Orwell's son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father's death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Richard Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government.

In 1979 Sonia brought a High Court action against Harrison who had in the meantime transferred 75% of the company's voting stock to himself and had dissipated much of the value of the company. She was considered to have a strong case, but was becoming increasingly ill and eventually was persuaded to settle out of court on 2 November 1980. She died on 11 December 1980, aged 62.

Literary career

During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism, in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage: Down and Out in Paris and London
Down and Out in Paris and London
Down and Out in Paris and London is the first full-length work by the English author George Orwell , published in 1933. It is a memoir in two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities. The first part is a picaresque account of living on the breadline in Paris and the experience of casual...

(describing a period of poverty in these cities), The Road to Wigan Pier
The Road to Wigan Pier
The Road to Wigan Pier is a book by the British writer George Orwell, first published in 1937. The first half of this work documents his sociological investigations of the bleak living conditions amongst the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the industrial north of England before World...

(describing the living conditions of the poor in northern England, and the class divide generally) and Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia
Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The first edition was published in 1938. The book was not published in the United States until February 1952. The American edition had a preface...

. According to Irving Howe
Irving Howe
Irving Howe was an American literary and social critic and a prominent figure of the Democratic Socialists of America.-Life and career:...

, Orwell was "the best English essayist since Hazlitt
William Hazlitt
William Hazlitt was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, and as a grammarian and philosopher. He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. Yet his work is...

, perhaps since Dr Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

."

Modern readers are more often introduced to Orwell as a novelist, particularly through his enormously successful titles Animal Farm
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...

and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

. The former is often thought to reflect degeneration in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 and the rise of Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

; the latter, life under totalitarian rule
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

. Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

is often compared to Brave New World
Brave New World
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's fifth novel, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 , the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of...

by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

; both are powerful dystopia
Dystopia
A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four...

n novels warning of a future world where the state machine exerts complete control over social life. In 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

's Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. The novel presents a future American society where reading is outlawed and firemen start fires to burn books...

were honoured with the Prometheus Award
Prometheus Award
The Prometheus Award is an award for libertarian science fiction novels given annually by the Libertarian Futurist Society, which also publishes a quarterly journal Prometheus. L. Neil Smith established the award in 1979, but it was not awarded regularly until the newly founded Libertarian Futurist...

 for their contributions to dystopian literature. In 2011 he received it again for Animal Farm.

Coming Up for Air
Coming Up for Air
Coming Up for Air is a novel by George Orwell, first published in June 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. It combines premonitions of the impending war with images of an idyllic Thames-side Edwardian era childhood...

, his last novel before World War II is the most 'English' of his novels; alarums of war mingle with images of idyllic Thames-side Edwardian childhood of protagonist George Bowling. The novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of Old England, and there were great, new external threats. In homely terms, Bowling posits the totalitarian hypotheses of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler: "Old Hitler's something different. So's Joe Stalin. They aren't like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it ... They're something quite new — something that's never been heard of before".

Literary influences

In an autobiographical piece that Orwell sent to the editors of Twentieth Century Authors in 1940, he wrote: "The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

, Fielding
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones....

, Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, Charles Reade
Charles Reade
Charles Reade was an English novelist and dramatist, best known for The Cloister and the Hearth.-Life:Charles Reade was born at Ipsden, Oxfordshire to John Reade and Anne Marie Scott-Waring; William Winwood Reade the influential historian , was his nephew. He studied at Magdalen College, Oxford,...

, Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert was a French writer who is counted among the greatest Western novelists. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary , and for his scrupulous devotion to his art and style.-Early life and education:Flaubert was born on December 12, 1821, in Rouen,...

 and, among modern writers, James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

, T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

 and D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...

. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills." Elsewhere, Orwell strongly praised the works of Jack London
Jack London
John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

, especially his book The Road. Orwell's investigation of poverty in The Road to Wigan Pier strongly resembles that of Jack London's The People of the Abyss, in which the American journalist disguises himself as an out-of-work sailor in order to investigate the lives of the poor in London. In his essay "Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travels" (1946) Orwell wrote: "If I had to make a list of six books which were to be preserved when all others were destroyed, I would certainly put Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels , is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of...

among them.".

Other writers admired by Orwell included: Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG was an English writer. His prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction....

, George Gissing
George Gissing
George Robert Gissing was an English novelist who published twenty-three novels between 1880 and 1903. From his early naturalistic works, he developed into one of the most accomplished realists of the late-Victorian era.-Early life:...

, Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English author, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world...

, Herman Melville
Herman Melville
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd....

, Henry Miller
Henry Miller
Henry Valentine Miller was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is...

, Tobias Smollett
Tobias Smollett
Tobias George Smollett was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle , which influenced later novelists such as Charles Dickens.-Life:Smollett was born at Dalquhurn, now part of Renton,...

, Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

 and Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin was a Russian author of science fiction and political satire. Despite having been a prominent Old Bolshevik, Zamyatin was deeply disturbed by the policies pursued by the CPSU following the October Revolution...

. He was both an admirer and a critic of Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

, praising Kipling as a gifted writer and a "good bad poet" whose work is "spurious" and "morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting," but undeniably seductive and able to speak to certain aspects of reality more effectively than more enlightened authors.

Orwell as literary critic

Throughout his life Orwell continually supported himself as a book reviewer, writing works so long and sophisticated they have had an influence on literary criticism. He wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

,
George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

 suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject.

Reactions to Orwell's works

Arthur Koestler mentioned Orwell's "uncompromising intellectual honesty [which] made him appear almost inhuman at times." Ben Wattenberg stated: "Orwell’s writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it." According to historian Piers Brendon
Piers Brendon
Piers Brendon is a British writer, known for historical and biographical works. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, Shropshire, and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read History. He earned his Ph.D for his thesis, Hurrell Froude and the Oxford Movement, which was published, with much...

, "Orwell was the saint of common decency who would in earlier days, said his BBC boss Rushbrook Williams, 'have been either canonised – or burnt at the stake'". However, Raymond Williams
Raymond Williams
Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

 in Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review
Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review
Politics and Letters is critic Raymond Williams's own account of his life and work. The book is based series of interviews given by to the magazine New Left Review and was published in 1979....

 describes Orwell as a "successful impersonation of a plain man who bumps into experience in an unmediated way and tells the truth about it." Christopher Norris declared that Orwell's "homespun empiricist outlook – his assumption that the truth was just there to be told in a straightforward common-sense way – now seems not merely naive but culpably self-deluding".

Orwell's work has taken a prominent place in the school literature curriculum in England, with Animal Farm a regular examination topic at the end of secondary education (GCSE), and Nineteen Eighty-Four a topic for subsequent examinations below university level (A Levels). Alan Brown noted that this brings to the forefront questions about the political content of teaching practices. Study aids, in particular with potted biographies, might be seen to help propagate the Orwell myth so that as an embodiment of human values he is presented as a "trustworthy guide", while examination questions sometimes suggest a "right ways of answering" in line with the myth.

Historian John Rodden stated: "John Podhoretz
John Podhoretz
John Podhoretz is an American neoconservative columnist for the New York Post, the editor of Commentary magazine, the author of several books on politics, and a former presidential speechwriter.-Life and career:...

 did claim that if Orwell were alive today, he’d be standing with the neo-conservatives and against the Left. And the question arises, to what extent can you even begin to predict the political positions of somebody who’s been dead three decades and more by that time?"

In Orwell's Victory, Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

 argues, "In answer to the accusation of inconsistency Orwell as a writer was forever taking his own temperature. In other words, here was someone who never stopped testing and adjusting his intelligence".

John Rodden points out the "undeniable conservative features in the Orwell physiognomy" and remarks on how "to some extent Orwell facilitated the kinds of uses and abuses by the Right that his name has been put to. In other ways there has been the politics of selective quotation." Rodden refers to the essay "Why I Write
Why I Write
"Why I Write" is an essay by George Orwell detailing his personal journey to becoming a writer. First published in the Summer 1946 edition of Gangrel, it not only offers a type of mini-biography in which he writes of having first completed poems and trying his hand at short-stories before finally...

", in which Orwell refers to the Spanish Civil War as being his "watershed political experience", saying "The Spanish War and other events in 1936–37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it." (emphasis in original) Rodden goes on to explain how, during the McCarthy era, the introduction to the Signet edition of Animal Farm, which sold more 20 million copies, makes use of "the politics of ellipsis":

If the book itself, Animal Farm, had left any doubt of the matter, Orwell dispelled it in his essay Why I Write: 'Every line of serious work that I’ve written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against Totalitarianism ... dot, dot, dot, dot,.' "For Democratic Socialism" is vaporised, just like Winston Smith did it at the Ministry of Truth, and that’s very much what happened beginning of the McCarthy era and just continued, Orwell being selectively quoted.


T.R. Fyvel wrote about Orwell: "His crucial experience ... was his struggle to turn himself into a writer, one which led through long periods of poverty, failure and humiliation, and about which he has written almost nothing directly. The sweat and agony was less in the slum-life than in the effort to turn the experience into literature."

Influence on language and writing

In his essay Politics and the English Language
Politics and the English Language
"Politics and the English Language" is an essay by George Orwell criticizing "ugly and inaccurate" contemporary written English.Orwell said that political prose was formed "to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Orwell believed...

(1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of precise and clear language, arguing that vague writing can be used as a powerful tool of political manipulation because it shapes the way we think. In that essay, Orwell provides six rules for writers:

  • Never use a metaphor
    Metaphor
    A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

    , simile
    Simile
    A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by employing the words "like", "as". Even though both similes and metaphors are forms of comparison, similes indirectly compare the two ideas and allow them to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas...

    , or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.

  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

  • Never use the passive
    Passive voice
    Passive voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. Passive is used in a clause whose subject expresses the theme or patient of the main verb. That is, the subject undergoes an action or has its state changed. A sentence whose theme is marked as grammatical subject is...

     where you can use the active
    Active voice
    Active voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. It is the unmarked voice for clauses featuring a transitive verb in nominative–accusative languages, including English and most other Indo-European languages....

    .

  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Andrew N. Rubin argues, "Orwell claimed that we should be attentive to how the use of language has limited our capacity for critical thought just as we should be equally concerned with the ways in which dominant modes of thinking have reshaped the very language that we use."

The adjective Orwellian
Orwellian
"Orwellian" describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society...

connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past. In Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

Orwell described a totalitarian government that controlled thought by controlling language, making certain ideas literally unthinkable. Several words and phrases from Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered popular language. Newspeak
Newspeak
Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, it refers to the deliberately impoverished language promoted by the state. Orwell included an essay about it in the form of an appendix in which the basic principles of the language are explained...

is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink
Doublethink
Doublethink, a word coined by George Orwell in the novel 1984, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. It is related to, but distinct from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Its opposite is cognitive dissonance, where...

means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police
Thought Police
The Thought Police is the secret police of Oceania in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals, using psychology and omnipresent surveillance from telescreens to monitor, search, find and kill...

are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed
Prolefeed
Prolefeed is a Newspeak term in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It was used to describe the deliberately superficial literature, movies and music that were produced by Prolesec, a section of the Ministry of Truth, to keep the "proles" content and to prevent them from becoming too...

is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone.

Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, in his essay, "You and the Atom Bomb", published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:
We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham
James Burnham
James Burnham was an American popular political theorist, best known for his influential work The Managerial Revolution, published in 1941. Burnham was a radical activist in the 1930s and an important factional leader of the American Trotskyist movement. In later years he left Marxism and produced...

's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications;— this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of 'cold war' with its neighbours.

Childhood

Jacintha Buddicom
Jacintha Buddicom
Jacintha Buddicom was a poet and a childhood friend of George Orwell .Buddicom was born at Plymouth but moved with her family to Shiplake, Berkshire. There she first met Eric Blair in the summer of 1914 when he was standing on his head in a field at the bottom of the Buddicoms' garden...

's account Eric & Us provides an insight into Blair's childhood. She quoted his sister Avril that "he was essentially an aloof, undemonstrative person" and said herself of his friendship with the Buddicoms "I do not think he needed any other friends beyond the schoolfriend he occasionally and appreciatively referred to as 'CC'". Cyril Connolly provides an account of Blair as a child in Enemies of Promise
Enemies of Promise
Enemies of Promise is a critical and autobiographical work written by Cyril Connolly and first published in 1938.It comprises three parts, the first dedicated to Connolly's observations about literature and the literary world of his time, the second a listing of adverse elements that affect the...

.
Years later, Blair mordantly recalled his prep school in the essay "Such, Such Were the Joys
Such, Such Were the Joys
"Such, Such Were the Joys" is a long autobiographical essay by the English writer George Orwell. It was probably composed in the early 1940s, but it was first published by the Partisan Review in 1952, two years after Orwell's death...

", claiming among other things that he "was made to study like a dog" to earn a scholarship, which he alleged was solely to enhance the school's prestige with parents. Jacintha Buddicom repudiated Orwell's schoolboy misery described in the essay, stating that "he was a specially happy child".

Connolly remarked of him as a schoolboy, "The remarkable thing about Orwell was that alone among the boys he was an intellectual and not a parrot for he thought for himself". At Eton, John Vaughan Wilkes
John Vaughan Wilkes
John Comyn Vaughan Wilkes was an English educationalist, who was Warden of Radley College and an Anglican priest....

, his former headmaster's son recalled, "...he was extremely argumentative — about anything — and criticising the masters and criticising the other boys.... We enjoyed arguing with him. He would generally win the arguments — or think he had anyhow." Roger Mynors
Roger Mynors
Sir Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors was a British academic and classical scholar.Mynors was educated at Summer Fields School, Oxford and won a scholarship to Eton. He was Newcastle Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. At Eton and Balliol, he was a friend of Cyril Connolly. He was Hertford and...

 concurs: "Endless arguments about all sorts of things, in which he was one of the great leaders. He was one of those boys who thought for himself...."

Blair liked to carry out practical jokes. Buddicom recalls him swinging from the luggage rack in a railway carriage like an orangutan to frighten a woman passenger out of the compartment. At Eton he played tricks on John Crace, his Master in College
Master in College
Master in College is the title of the master responsible for College, the oldest boarding house at Eton College, which is reserved for the seventy King's Scholars....

, among which was to enter a spoof advertisement in a College magazine implying pederasty. Gow, his tutor, said he "made himself as big a nuisance as he could" and "was a very unattractive boy". Later Blair was expelled from the crammer at Southwold for sending a dead rat as a birthday present to the town surveyor. In one of his As I Please essays he refers to a protracted joke when he answered an advertisement for a woman who claimed a cure for obesity.

Blair had an enduring interest in natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 which stemmed from his childhood. In letters from school he wrote about caterpillars and butterflies, and Buddicom recalls his keen interest in ornithology. He also enjoyed fishing and shooting rabbits, and conducting experiments as in cooking a hedgehog or shooting down a jackdaw from the Eton roof to dissect it. His zeal for scientific experiments extended to explosives — again Buddicom recalls a cook giving notice because of the noise. Later in Southwold his sister Avril recalled him blowing up the garden. When teaching he enthused his students with his nature-rambles both at Southwold and Hayes. His adult diaries are permeated with his observations on nature.

Relationships

Buddicom and Blair lost touch shortly after he went to Burma, and she became unsympathetic towards him. She wrote that it was because of the letters he wrote complaining about his life, but an addendum to Eric & Us
Eric & Us
Eric & Us is a 1974 memoir by Jacintha Buddicom recalling her childhood friendship with Eric Blair, the real name of author George Orwell. Buddicom first met Blair when he was eleven and he became very close to her family. Their friendship lasted until Blair became a policeman in Burma and the two...

by Venables reveals that he may have lost sympathy through an incident which was at best a clumsy seduction.

Mabel Fierz, who later became his confidante, said "He used to say the one thing he wished in this world was that he'd been attractive to women. He liked women and had many girlfriends I think in Burma. He had a girl in Southwold and another girl in London. He was rather a womaniser, yet he was afraid he wasn't attractive."

Brenda Salkield (Southwold) preferred friendship to any deeper relationship and maintained a correspondence with Blair for many years, particularly as a sounding board for his ideas. She wrote "He was a great letter writer. Endless letters, And I mean when he wrote you a letter he wrote pages." His correspondence with Eleanor Jacques (London) was more prosaic, dwelling on a closer relationship and referring to past rendezvous or planning future ones in London and Burnham Beeches
Burnham Beeches
Burnham Beeches is an area of 220 hectares of ancient woodland, located close to Farnham Common, Burnham and Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire. It is approximately 25 miles to the west of London, England.-Preservation:...

.

When Orwell was in the sanitorium in Kent his wife's friend Lydia Jackson visited. He invited her for a walk and out of sight "an awkward situation arose." Jackson was to be the most critical of Orwell's marriage to Eileen O'Shaughnessy
Eileen O'Shaughnessy
Eileen Maud O'Shaughnessy was the first wife of British writer George Orwell.O'Shaughnessy was born in South Shields, County Durham, in the north-east of England, the only daughter of Marie O'Shaughnessy and Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, who was a customs collector...

 but their later correspondence hints a complicity. Eileen at the time was more concerned about Orwell's closeness to Brenda Salkield. Orwell was to have an affair with his secretary at Tribune which caused Eileen much distress, and others have been mooted. In a letter to Ann Popham he wrote: 'I was sometimes unfaithful to Eileen, and I also treated her badly, and I think she treated me badly, too, at times, but it was a real marriage, in the sense that we had been through awful struggles together and she understood all about my work, etc.', Similarly he suggested to Celia Kirwan that they had both been unfaithful. There are several testaments that it was a well-matched and happy marriage

Orwell was very lonely after Eileen's death, and desperate for a wife, both as companion for himself and as mother for Richard. He proposed marriage to four women, and eventually Sonia Brownell
Sonia Brownell
Sonia Mary Brownell was the second and last wife of writer George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair. She was also known as Sonia Blair or Sonia Orwell.-Background:...

 accepted.

Religious views

Orwell was a communicant member of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, he attended holy communion regularly, and allusions to Anglican life are made in his book A Clergyman's Daughter. At the same time he found the church to be a "selfish...church of the landed gentry" with its establishment "out of touch" with the majority of its communicants and altogether a pernicious influence on public life. Yet, he was married according to the rites of the Church of England in both his first marriage at the church at Wallington, and in his second marriage on his deathbed in University College Hospital, and he left instructions that he was to receive an Anglican funeral.
In their 1972 study, The Unknown Orwell, the writers Peter Stansky and William Abrahams note that at Eton Blair displayed a "sceptical attitude" to Christian belief, and that: "Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

's preface to his recently published Androcles and the Lion in which an account of the gospels is set forth, very different in tone from what one would be likely to hear from an Anglican clergyman" was "much more to Blair's own taste." Crick observed that Orwell displayed "a pronounced anti-Catholicism".

The ambiguity in his belief in religion mirrored the dichotomies between his public and private lives: Stephen Ingle wrote that it was as if the writer George Orwell "vaunted" his atheism while Eric Blair the individual retained "a deeply ingrained religiosity". Ingle later noted that Orwell did not accept the existence of an afterlife, believing in the finality of death while living and advocating a moral code based on Judeo-Christian beliefs.

Political views

Orwell liked to provoke argument by challenging the status quo, but he was also a traditionalist with a love of old English values. He criticised and satirised, from the inside, the various social milieus in which he found himself – provincial town life in A Clergyman's Daughter; middle-class pretention in Keep the Aspidistra Flying; preparatory schools in Such Such were the Joys; colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 in Burmese Days, and some socialist groups in The Road to Wigan Pier
The Road to Wigan Pier
The Road to Wigan Pier is a book by the British writer George Orwell, first published in 1937. The first half of this work documents his sociological investigations of the bleak living conditions amongst the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the industrial north of England before World...

. In his Adelphi days he described himself as a "Tory
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

-anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

".

In 1928, Orwell began his career as a professional writer in Paris. His first article, Censorship in England, was an attempt to account for the 'extraordinary and illogical' suppression of plays and novels on the grounds of public decency, then practised in Britain. His own explanation was that the rise of the 'puritan middle class', who had stricter morals than the aristocracy, tightened the rules of censorship in the 19th century. Orwell's first article to be published in his home country, A Farthing Newspaper, was a critique of the new French daily, the Ami de Peuple. This paper was sold much more cheaply than most others, and was intended for ordinary people to read. However, Orwell pointed out that its proprietor François Coty
François Coty
François Coty was a French perfume manufacturer, newspaper publisher, and founder of the fascist league Solidarité Française...

 also owned the rightwing dailies Le Figaro
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

and Le Gaulois
Le Gaulois
Le Gaulois was a French daily newspaper, founded in 1868 by Edmond Tarbe and Henri de Pene. After a printing stoppage, it was revived by Arthur Meyer in 1882 with notable collaborators Paul Bourget, Alfred Grévin, Abel Hermant, and Ernest Daudet...

, which the Ami de Peuple was supposedly competing against. Orwell suggested that cheap newspapers were no more than a vehicle for advertising and anti-leftist propaganda, and predicted that like India, France might soon see 'free newspapers' which would drive many legitimate dailies out of business.

The Spanish Civil War played the most important part in defining Orwell's socialism. He wrote to Cyril Connolly from Barcelona on 8 June 1937: "I have seen wonderful things and at last really believe in Socialism, which I never did before". Having witnessed the success of the anarcho-syndicalist
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

 communities, for example in Anarchist Catalonia
Anarchist Catalonia
Anarchist Catalonia was the part of Catalonia controlled by the anarchist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo during the Spanish Civil War.-Anarchists enter government:...

, and the subsequent brutal suppression of the anarcho-syndicalists, anti-Stalin communist parties and revolutionaries by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

-backed Communists, Orwell returned from Catalonia a staunch anti-Stalinist
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 and joined the Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893. The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave...

, his card being issued on 13 June 1938. Although he was never a Trotskyist
Trotskyism
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

, he was strongly influenced by the Trotskyist and anarchist critiques of the Soviet regime, and by the anarchists' emphasis on individual freedom. In Part 2 of The Road to Wigan Pier, published by the Left Book Club
Left Book Club
The Left Book Club, founded in 1936, was a key left-wing institution of the late 1930s and 1940s in the United Kingdom set up by Stafford Cripps, Victor Gollancz and John Strachey to revitalise and educate the British Left. The Club's aim was to "help in the struggle For world peace and against...

, Orwell stated: "a real Socialist is one who wishes – not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes – to see tyranny overthrown". Orwell stated in "Why I Write" (1946): "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 and for democratic socialism
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

, as I understand it." Orwell was a proponent of a federal socialist Europe, a position outlined in his 1947 essay "Toward European Unity", which first appeared in Partisan Review
Partisan Review
Partisan Review was an American political and literary quarterly published from 1934 to 2003, though it suspended publication between October 1936 and December 1937.-Overview:...

. According to biographer John Newsinger
John Newsinger
John Newsinger is a British professor of History at Bath Spa University.A book reviewer for the New Left Review he is also author of numerous books and articles, as well as studies of science fiction and of the cinema...

,
the other crucial dimension to Orwell's socialism was his recognition that the Soviet Union was not socialist. Unlike many on the left, instead of abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a socialist — indeed he became more committed to the socialist cause than ever."


In his 1938 essay "Why I joined the Independent Labour Party", published in the ILP-affiliated New Leader
Labour Leader
The Labour Leader was a British socialist newspaper published for almost one hundred years. It was later re-named New Leader and Socialist Leader, before finally taking the name Labour Leader again....

, Orwell wrote:

For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me several pounds a week for writing books against capitalism. But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs is going to last forever ... the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer – that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.

Towards the end of the essay, he wrote: "I do not mean I have lost all faith in the Labour Party. My most earnest hope is that the Labour Party will win a clear majority in the next General Election."

Orwell was opposed to rearmament against Nazi Germany — but he changed his view after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 and the outbreak of the war. He left the ILP because of its opposition to the war and adopted a political position of "revolutionary patriotism". In December 1940 he wrote in Tribune (the Labour left's weekly): "We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary." During the war, Orwell was highly critical of the popular idea that an Anglo-Soviet alliance would be the basis of a post-war world of peace and prosperity. In 1942, commenting on journalist E. H. Carr's pro-Soviet views, Orwell stated: "all the appeasers, e.g. Professor E. H. Carr, have switched their allegiance from Hitler to Stalin."

On anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, Orwell wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier: "I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can be trusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone." He continued however and argued that "it is always necessary to protect peaceful people from violence. In any state of society where crime can be profitable you have got to have a harsh criminal law and administer it ruthlessly."

In his reply (dated 15 November 1943) to an invitation from the Duchess of Atholl to speak for the British League for European Freedom, he stated that he didn't agree with their objectives. He admitted that what they said was "more truthful than the lying propaganda found in most of the press" but added that he could not "associate himself with an essentially Conservative body" that claimed to "defend democracy in Europe" but had "nothing to say about British imperialism". His closing paragraph stated: "I belong to the Left and must work inside it, much as I hate Russian totalitarianism and its poisonous influence in this country."

Orwell joined the staff of Tribune as literary editor, and from then until his death, was a left-wing (though hardly orthodox) Labour-supporting democratic socialist.
On 1 September 1944, about the Warsaw insurrection, Orwell expressed in Tribune his hostility against the influence of the alliance with the USSR over the allies: "Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Do not imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the sovietic regime, or any other regime, and then suddenly return to honesty and reason. Once a whore, always a whore."
According to Newsinger, although Orwell "was always critical of the 1945–51 Labour government's moderation, his support for it began to pull him to the right politically. This did not lead him to embrace conservatism, imperialism or reaction, but to defend, albeit critically, Labour reformism." Between 1945 and 1947, with A. J. Ayer and Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, he contributed a series of articles and essays to Polemic
Polemic (Magazine)
Polemic was a British "Magazine of Philosophy, Psychology, and Aesthetics" published between 1945 and 1947, which aimed to be a general or non-specialist intellectual periodical....

, a short-lived British "Magazine of Philosophy, Psychology, and Aesthetics" edited by the ex-Communist Humphrey Slater
Humphrey Slater
Humphrey Richard "Hugh" Slater was a British author and painter.Brought up in South Africa, he attended the Slade School of Art in the mid-1920s, and exhibited an abstract painting at Lucy Wertheim's gallery, a leading London gallery....

.

Writing in the spring of 1945 a long essay titled "Antisemitism in Britain", for the Contemporary Jewish Record, Orwell stated that anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 was on the increase in Britain, and that it was "irrational and will not yield to arguments". He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could "swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others". He wrote: "For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. ... Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own anti-Semitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness." In Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

, written shortly after the war, Orwell portrayed the Party as enlisting anti-Semitic passions against their enemy, Goldstein.

Orwell publicly defended P.G. Wodehouse against charges of being a Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 sympathiser, a defence based on Wodehouse's lack of interest in and ignorance of politics.

The British intelligence group Special Branch
Special Branch
Special Branch is a label customarily used to identify units responsible for matters of national security in British and Commonwealth police forces, as well as in the Royal Thai Police...

 maintained a file on Orwell for more than 20 years of his life. The dossier, published by The National Archives, mentions that according to one investigator, Orwell had "advanced Communist views and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings". MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

, the intelligence department of the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

, noted: "It is evident from his recent writings – 'The Lion and the Unicorn' – and his contribution to Gollancz's symposium The Betrayal of the Left that he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him."

Social interactions

Orwell was noted for very close and enduring friendships with a few friends, but these were generally people with a similar background or with a similar level of literary ability. Ungregarious, he was out of place in a crowd and his discomfort was exacerbated when he was outside his own class. Though representing himself as a spokesman for the common man, he often appeared out of place with real working people. His brother-in-law Humphrey Dakin, a "Hail fellow, well met" type, who took him to a local pub in Leeds, said that he was told by the landlord: "Don't bring that bugger in here again". Adrian Fierz commented "He wasn't interested in racing or greyhounds or pub crawling or shove ha'penny
Shove ha'penny
Shove ha'penny , also known in ancestral form as shoffe-grote ['shove-groat' in Modern English], slype groat ['slip groat'], and slide-thrift, is a pub game in the shuffleboard family, played predominantly in the United Kingdom...

. He just did not have much in common with people who did not share his intellectual interests". Awkwardness attended many of his encounters with working-class representatives, as with Pollitt and McNair. but his courtesy and good manners were often commented on. Jack Common
Jack Common
Jack Common was a British novelist.He was born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, close to the rail-sheds where his father worked as an engine-driver...

 observed on meeting him for the first time, "Right away manners, and more than manners — breeding — showed through".

In his tramping days, he did domestic work for a time. His extreme politeness was recalled by a member of the family he worked for; she declared that the family referred to him as "Laurel
Stan Laurel
Arthur Stanley "Stan" Jefferson , better known as Stan Laurel, was an English comic actor, writer and film director, famous as the first half of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy. His film acting career stretched between 1917 and 1951 and included a starring role in the Academy Award winning film...

" after the film comedian. With his gangling figure and awkwardness, Orwell's friends often saw him as a figure of fun. Geoffrey Gorer
Geoffrey Gorer
Geoffrey Gorer, English anthropologist and author , noted for his application of psychoanalytic techniques to anthropology.He was educated at Charterhouse and at Jesus College, Cambridge. During the 1930s he wrote unpublished fiction and drama. His first book was The Revolutionary Ideas of the...

 commented "He was awfully likely to knock things off tables, trip over things. I mean, he was a gangling, physically badly co-ordinated young man. I think his feelings that even the inanimate world was against him..." When he shared a flat with Heppenstall and Sayer, he was treated in a patronising manner by the younger men. At the BBC, in the 1940s, "everybody would pull his leg", and Spender described him as having real entertainment value "like, as I say, watching a Charlie Chaplin movie". A friend of Eileen's reminisced about her tolerance and humour, often at Orwell's expense.

One biography of Orwell accused him of having had an authoritarian streak. In Burma, he struck out at a Burmese boy who while "fooling around" with his friends had "accidentally bumped into him" at a station, with the result that Orwell "fell heavily" down some stairs. One of his former pupils recalled being beaten so hard he could not sit down for a week. When sharing a flat with Orwell, Heppenstall came home late one night in an advanced stage of loud inebriation. The upshot was that Heppenstall ended up with a bloody nose and was locked in a room. When he complained, Orwell hit him a crack across the legs with a shooting stick and Heppenstall then had to defend himself with a chair. Years later, after Orwell's death, Heppenstall wrote a dramatic account of the incident called "The Shooting Stick" and Mabel Fierz confirmed that Heppenstall came to her in a sorry state the following day.

However, Orwell got on well with young people. The pupil he beat considered him the best of teachers, and the young recruits in Barcelona tried to drink him under the table — though without success. His nephew recalled Uncle Eric laughing louder than anyone in the cinema at a Charlie Chaplin film.

In the wake of his most famous works, he attracted many uncritical hangers-on, but many others who sought him found him aloof and even dull. With his soft voice, he was sometimes shouted down or excluded from discussions. At this time, he was severely ill; it was wartime or the austerity period after it; during the war his wife suffered from depression; and after her death he was lonely and unhappy. In addition to that, he always lived frugally and seemed unable to care for himself properly. As a result of all this, people found his circumstances bleak. Some, like Michael Ayrton
Michael Ayrton
Michael Ayrton was an English artist and writer, known as a painter, printmaker and sculptor, and also as a critic, broadcaster and novelist...

, called him "Gloomy George", but others developed the idea that he was a "secular saint".

Lifestyle

Orwell was a heavy smoker, rolling his own cigarettes from strong shag tobacco
Shag (tobacco)
Shag, also known as rolling tobacco and loose tobacco is fine-cut tobacco used to make self-made cigarettes by hand rolling the tobacco into rolling paper or injecting it into filter tubes. It got its name from the finely cut strands appearing like 'shag' and was originally considered poor quality...

, in spite of his bronchial condition. He undermined his health with a penchant for the rugged life which often put him in cold and damp situations both in the long term as in Catalonia and Jura, and short term, for example in motorcycling in the rain and a shipwreck of his own creation. His love of strong tea was legendary — he had Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason, often shortened to just "Fortnum's" is a department store, situated in central London, with two other branches in Japan. Its headquarters is located at 181 Piccadilly, where it was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason...

's tea brought to him in Catalonia and in 1946 published "A Nice Cup of Tea
A Nice Cup of Tea
"A Nice Cup of Tea" is an essay by British writer George Orwell, first published in the Evening Standard newspaper of 12 January 1946. It is a straight-faced discussion about the craft of making a cup of tea, including the line: "Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as...

" on how to make it. He appreciated English beer, taken regularly and moderately, despised drinkers of lager and wrote about an imagined, ideal pub in his 1946 newspaper article "The Moon Under Water". Not being particular about food, he enjoyed the wartime "Victory Pie" extolled canteen food at the BBC and once ate the cat's dinner by mistake. However he preferred traditional English dishes such as roast beef
Roast beef
Roast beef is a dish of beef which is roasted in an oven. Essentially prepared as a main meal, the leftovers can be and are often served within sandwiches and sometimes is used to make hash...

 and kipper
Kipper
A kipper is a whole herring, a small, oily fish, that has been split from tail to head, gutted, salted or pickled, and cold smoked.In the United Kingdom, in Japan, and in some North American regions they are often eaten for breakfast...

s and reports of his Islington days refer to the cosy afternoon tea table.

His dress sense was unpredictable and usually casual. In Southwold he had the best cloth from the local tailor, but was equally happy in his tramping outfit. His attire in the Spanish Civil War, along with his size 12 boots was a source of amusement. David Astor described him as looking like a prep school master, while according to the Special Branch dossier, Orwell's tendency of clothing himself "in Bohemian fashion" revealed that the author was "a Communist".

Orwell's confusing approach to matters of social decorum—on the one hand expecting a working class guest to dress for dinner, and on the other hand slurping tea out of a saucer at the BBC canteen—helped stoke his reputation as an English eccentric.

Biographies

Orwell's will requested that no biography of him be written, and his wife Sonia Brownell repelled every attempt by those who tried to persuade her to let them write about him. Various recollections and interpretations were published in the 1950s and 1960s but Sonia saw the 1968 Collected Works as the record of his life. She did appoint Muggeridge
Malcolm Muggeridge
Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy...

 as official biographer, but later biographers have seen this as deliberate spoiling as Muggeridge eventually gave up the work In 1973 American authors Stansky and Williams produced an unauthorised account of his early years which inevitably lacked Sonia Brownell's input. She then commissioned Bernard Crick
Bernard Crick
Sir Bernard Rowland Crick was a British political theorist and democratic socialist whose views were often summarised as "politics is ethics done in public"...

, a left-wing professor of politics at the University of London
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

 to complete a biography and asked all Orwell's friends to co-operate. Crick collated a considerable amount of material in his work which was published in 1980, but his questioning of the literal truth of Orwell's first-person writings led to conflict with Sonia who tried unsuccessfully to suppress the book. Crick concentrated on the facts of Orwell's life rather than his character, and as a professor of politics presented primarily a political perspective on Orwell's life and work.

After Sonia Brownell's death many more works were produced in the 1980s with 1984 being a particularly fruitful year for Orwelliana. These included collections of reminiscences by Coppard and Crick and Stephen Wadhams.

In 1991 a biography was produced by Michael Shelden, an American Professor of Literature. Shelden was more concerned with the literary nature of Orwell’s work seeking explanations for Orwell's character and treating his first person writings as autobiographical. Shelden introduced several new pieces of information correcting some of the errors and omissions in Crick's earlier work. Shelden attributed to Orwell an obsessive belief in his failure and inadequacy.

Peter Davison's production of the Complete Works of George Orwell, completed in 2000 put most of the Orwell Archive in the public domain. Jeffrey Meyers, a prolific American biographer, was first to take advantage of this and produced a work that was more willing to investigate the darker side of Orwell and question the saintly image. Why Orwell Matters
Why Orwell Matters
Why Orwell Matters, released in the UK as Orwell's Victory, is a book-length biographical essay by Christopher Hitchens. In it, the author relates George Orwell's thoughts on and actions in relation to: the British Empire; the British left; the British right; the United States; English...

was published by Christopher Hitchens in 2002.

In 2003, the centenary of Orwell's birth resulted in the two most up-to-date biographies by Gordon Bowker and D. J. Taylor
D. J. Taylor
David John Taylor is a British critic, novelist and biographer. After attending school in Norwich, he read Modern History at St John's College, Oxford, and has received the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award for his biography of George Orwell. His novel Derby Day was longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker...

, both academics and writers in the United Kingdom. Taylor notes the stage management which surrounds much of Orwell's behaviour, and Bowker highlights the essential sense of decency which he considers to have been Orwell's main driver.

Further reading

  • Anderson, Paul (ed). Orwell in Tribune: 'As I Please' and Other Writings. Methuen/Politico's 2006. ISBN 1-84275-155-7
  • Bounds, Philip. Orwell and Marxism: The Political and Cultural Thinking of George Orwell. I.B. Tauris. 2009. ISBN 1845118073
  • Bowker, Gordon. George Orwell. Little Brown. 2003. ISBN 0-316-86115-4
  • Buddicom, Jacintha. Eric & Us. Finlay Publisher. 2006. ISBN 0-9553708-0-9
  • Caute, David. Dr. Orwell and Mr. Blair, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-81438-9
  • Crick, Bernard
    Bernard Crick
    Sir Bernard Rowland Crick was a British political theorist and democratic socialist whose views were often summarised as "politics is ethics done in public"...

    . George Orwell: A Life. Penguin. 1982. ISBN 0-14-005856-7
  • Flynn, Nigel. George Orwell. The Rourke Corporation, Inc. 1990. ISBN 0-86593-018-X
  • Hitchens, Christopher
    Christopher Hitchens
    Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

    . Why Orwell Matters. Basic Books. 2003. ISBN 0-465-03049-1
  • Hollis, Christopher. A Study of George Orwell: The Man and His Works. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co. 1956.
  • Larkin, Emma. Secret Histories: Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop. Penguin. 2005. ISBN 1-59420-052-1
  • Lee, Robert A, Orwell's Fiction. University of Notre Dame Press, 1969. LC 74-75151
  • Leif, Ruth Ann, Homage to Oceania. The Prophetic Vision of George Orwell. Ohio State U.P. [1969]
  • Meyers, Jeffery. Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation. W.W.Norton. 2000. ISBN 0-393-32263-7
  • Newsinger, John
    John Newsinger
    John Newsinger is a British professor of History at Bath Spa University.A book reviewer for the New Left Review he is also author of numerous books and articles, as well as studies of science fiction and of the cinema...

    . Orwell's Politics. Macmillan. 1999. ISBN 0-333-68287-4
  • Rodden, John (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell. Cambridge. 2007. ISBN 978-0-521-67507-9
  • Shelden, Michael
    Michael Shelden
    Michael Shelden is an American biographer and teacher, notable for his authorized biography of George Orwell, his history of Cyril Connolly ’s Horizon magazine, and his controversial biography of Graham Greene. His most recent book, Mark Twain: Man in White, was published in January...

    . Orwell: The Authorized Biography. HarperCollins. 1991. ISBN 0-06-016709-2
  • Smith, D. & Mosher, M. Orwell for Beginners. 1984. London: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative.
  • Taylor, D. J.
    D. J. Taylor
    David John Taylor is a British critic, novelist and biographer. After attending school in Norwich, he read Modern History at St John's College, Oxford, and has received the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award for his biography of George Orwell. His novel Derby Day was longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker...

     Orwell: The Life. Henry Holt and Company. 2003. ISBN 0-8050-7473-2
  • West, W. J. The Larger Evils. Edinburgh: Canongate Press. 1992. ISBN 0-86241-382-6 (Nineteen Eighty-Four – The truth behind the satire.)
  • West, W. J. (ed.) George Orwell: The Lost Writings. New York: Arbor House. 1984. ISBN 0-87795-745-2
  • Williams, Raymond
    Raymond Williams
    Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

    , Orwell, Fontana/Collins, 1971
  • Wood, James "A Fine Rage." The New Yorker. 2009. 85(9):54.
  • Woodcock, George
    George Woodcock
    George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

    . The Crystal Spirit. Little Brown. 1966. ISBN 1-55164-268-9

External links

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