Interesting George Orwell Facts

George Orwell facts reveal details about the life and works of one of the most influential political writers of the 20th century. Born Eric Blair in 1903, the writer used the pen name George Orwell for most of his professional career.

Early Years

  • Blair was born in Bengal, India during the height of the British Imperial rule.
  • Blair only saw his father once over a three month visit from 1904 to 1912.
  • He had two sisters, Marjorie and Avril.
  • Young Blair attended the prestigious college of Eton, where he was considered a good student.
  • He didn't attend a university; instead, Orwell went to Burma to join the imperial police force.
  • Blair chose his pen name, "George Orwell" because "George" was the patron saint of England and "Orwell" was the name of a river he liked.
  • Orwell was a heavy smoker for most of his life, a habit that did not help his weak lungs.

Writing Career

  • Orwell wrote more than 350 articles during his journalism career.
  • Poetry isn't usually connected with Orwell, but he wrote 17 well-received poems.
  • Orwell also wrote scripts, a play and 29 collections of short stories.
  • Besides his most famous novels, Animal Farm and 1984, Orwell wrote four other novels.
  • Orwell wrote three semi-autobiographical books that detailed some of the more exciting times of his life, such as fighting in the Spanish revolution in 1935.
  • Some of the best known Orwell essays are Shooting an Elephant (1936), The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius (1941) and Why I Write (1946).

Later Years

  • Orwell's wife, Eileen, died in 1945 while undergoing minor surgery.
  • Orwell married Sonia Bronwell in 1949.
  • He suffered from lung conditions for much of his adult life, and specifically from tuberculosis the last few years of his life.
  • Orwell lived on a remote island in the Inner Hebrides, called Jura, for several years.
  • In 1949, he provided a list of 37 names to the Information Research Department of people he felt might be Communist.
  • Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950.
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