George Orwell


George Orwell was the pseudonym of the English writer Eric Arthur Blair. Blair was born on June 25, 1903 in Mothari, Bengal to Richard Walmesley Blair, a Government of India employee in the Opium Department, and Ida Mabel Limouzin. In 1904, Ida moved with Eric and his older sister Marjorie back to Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, to bring the children up there according to Anglo-Indian custom. Richard Blair stayed in India. In 1908 Ida sent Eric to a small Anglican convent school in Henley. In 1911 Eric was accepted at St. Cyprian's, a preparatory school in Eastbourne, Sussex. He left St. Cyprian's in 1916. In 1917 Blair spent nine weeks at Wellington College and then went to Eton College as a King's Scholar. He left Eton in 1921, but did not go on to a university. In 1922, Blair joined the Indian Imperial Police and served as a sub divisional officer in Burma. He resigned and returned to England in 1927. In 1928, Blair went to Paris in order to become a writer. After his money ran out, he became a dishwasher. He returned to England at the end of 1929, and became a tramp, roaming the English countryside. In 1932, Blair got a job that would give him time for writing, as a teacher in a private school. His first book, DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON, was published under the pseudonym George Orwell in 1933. Orwell published his first novel, BURMESE DAYS, in 1934. He also went to work in a bookshop in London. A CLERGYMAN’S DAUGHTER was published in 1935, the same year Orwell met his future first wife, Eileen Maud O'Shaughnessy. In early 1936, Orwell did research for THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER. His novel, KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING, was published. On June 9, he married Eileen. In December, he went to Spain and joined the POUM to fight in the Spanish Civil War. In March 1937, THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER was published. Orwell was shot through the neck in May, treated at a hospital, and returned to England inn July. HOMAGE TO CATALONIA was published in April 1938, and COMING UP FOR AIRIN in June 1939. INSIDE THE WHALE was published in March 1940. In 1941, The LION AND THE UNICORN was published. In August of that year Orwell joined the BBC as talk producer and broadcaster for India. He was also busy reviewing for Time and Tide, Tribune, Observer, Partisan Review, and Manchester Evening News. Orwell resigned from the BBC in 1943. That November, he became literary editor of Tribune. He completed ANIMAL FARM in February 1944, but no publisher would accept it at the time. That June, he and Eileen adopted a baby boy, Richard. Orwell resigned from the Tribune in March 1945 to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Eileen died in March. ANIMAL FARM was finally published by Secker & Warburg in August. It was a great success and Orwell became famous overnight. In February 1946, Orwell published CRITICAL ESSAYS, which was published in the U.S. that April as DICKENS, DALI AND OTHERS. He left London to live on the island of Jura, with his son and a nurse. There, he began NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, and grew ill. In December 1947, Orwell entered Hairmyres Hospital, near Glasgow. He returned to Jura in July 1948. In January 1949, he entered a sanatorium in Cranham, Gloucestershire. NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR was published in June and was instantly a success. In September, Orwell was admitted to University College Hospital in London. He married Sonia Brownell on October 13. Orwell died on January 21, 1950 and was buried at the Church of All Saints, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.