The George Orwell biography follows the extraordinary life of Eric Blair, who wrote under the pen name "George Orwell" and achieved literary fame during his lifetime. A man with deep beliefs about society and government, Orwell published many books and essays and produced thousands of journalistic articles.
Eric Blair was born in Bengal in 1903 to British citizens Ida and Richard Blair. Richard Blair worked for the Indian Civil Service, hence the family's presence in Bengal. Blair, his older sister Marjorie and his mother returned to England when he was just a toddler.
Blair received an excellent education and was noted for being a good student but struggled to get along with instructors. He graduated from Eton and traveled to Burma as a member of the Indian Imperial Police. Blair took a series of jobs in Paris and London, starting in 1928: journalist, freelance writer, teacher and bookstore worker. He also began to write short stories under the pen name "George Orwell." He married Eileen O'Shaughnessy in 1936.
Orwell held passionate feelings about government and sympathy for the working class; he penned several anti-imperial stories in the 1930s, including the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the short story "Shooting an Elephant" (1936). He joined the Independent Labour Party in 1938 and joined up to fight in the Spanish Revolution in 1936. Many of his early works reflect his time in Spain, including material for a novel, Homage to Catalonia (1938).
When the couple returned to England, Blair turned to writing full time, supplying essays and news stories to some of the most prestigious publications. He also wrote a series of novels and some poetry. His anti-Stalin novel Animal Farm was published in 1945 and was an instant success, but Blair suffered personal tragedy in the same year, as his wife died in 1945 during surgery.
Blair continued to produce essays and worked on his dystopian novel 1984 (1949), even though he was battling tuberculosis and his health declined rapidly. The writer married again in 1949, but suffered a burst artery in his lung and died Jan. 21, 1950. While Blair is best known for Animal Farm and 1984, he left a long writing legacy of political writings that display passionate insights into socio-economic challenges of his time.
Witty and observant, George Orwell's quotes are timeless. Learn about what the man who gave the world 1984 and Animal Farm had to say about his life and times.
Writer George Orwell was best known for his books. Learn about the works that continue to captivate readers more than 50 years after their initial publication.