George Orwell

English author and journalist (1903–1950) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic.[1] His work is characterised by lucid prose, social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and support of democratic socialism.[2]

Quick facts: George Orwell, Born, Died, Resting place, Edu...
George Orwell
Photograph of the head and shoulders of a middle-aged man, with black hair and a slim mustache
Orwell's press card portrait, 1943
Eric Arthur Blair

(1903-06-25)25 June 1903
Died21 January 1950(1950-01-21) (aged 46)
London, England
Resting placeAll Saints' Church, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England
EducationEton College
Notable work
Political partyILP (from 1938)
  • (m. 1936; died 1945)
  • (m. 1949)
ChildrenRichard Blair
Writing career
Pen nameGeorge Orwell
Years active1928–1950
Eric Blair ("George Orwell")

Orwell produced literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working-class life in the industrial north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences soldiering for the Republican faction of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), are as critically respected as his essays on politics, literature, language and culture.

Blair was born in India, and raised and educated in England. After school he became an Imperial policeman in Burma, before returning to Suffolk, England, where he began his writing career as George Orwell—a name inspired by a favourite location, the River Orwell. He lived from occasional pieces of journalism, and also worked as a teacher or bookseller whilst living in London. From the late 1920s to the early 1930s, his success as a writer grew and his first books were published. He was wounded fighting in the Spanish Civil War, leading to his first period of ill health on return to England. During the Second World War he worked as a journalist and, between 1941 and 1943, for the BBC. The 1945 publication of Animal Farm, where he used the animal trope to "relay bureaucratic tensions and flaws in democracy" from Adela Zamudio's 1914 allegorical story "La reunión de ayer / Yesterday's Meeting," led to fame during his lifetime.[3][4] During the final years of his life he worked on Nineteen Eighty-Four, and moved between Jura in Scotland and London. It was published in June 1949, less than a year before his death.

Orwell's work remains influential in popular culture and in political culture, and the adjective "Orwellian"—describing totalitarian and authoritarian social practices—is part of the English language, like many of his neologisms, such as "Big Brother", "Thought Police", "Room 101", "Newspeak", "memory hole", "doublethink", and "thoughtcrime".[5][6] In 2008, The Times ranked George Orwell second among "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[7]