George Orwell

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell, was born on 25th of June 1903. He was born in a British colony in India and was brought by his parents back to England when he was a year old.

Orwell attended a small school in Henley before attending Eton, where it is recorded that some of his teachers thoroughly disliked him because he had little time for those in authority. The reports of his achievements at school vary: some say that he was a poor student, other disagree with this. It was clear that Orwell would not be able to attend university due to the inability to pay the fees.

Orwell joined the police in Burma, where he had family connections. In 1924 he was promoted. In 1927 he contracted Dengue fever: in light of this he was allowed to return to England. It was at this time that he resigned from the police force with the intention of focusing on writing. It was this time in Burma that provided the inspiration for Orwell’s first novel, Burmese Days, published in 1934.

Orwell took a job as a teacher in England, after living in Paris for a short time. It was a small school and allowed Orwell to focus on his writing. He was contributing on a regular basis to the magazine New Adelphi, where his essay “A Hanging” first appeared. Orwell, after suffering with pneumonia, would take a part-time job working in a book shop in Hampstead.

When the Spanish Civil war began, Orwell volunteered to fight for the republicans against the uprising. He was injured after being shot in the neck by a sniper’s bullet; following this he and his new wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy, left Spain to return to England.

By 1944 what would be Animal Farm was ready to be published, but Orwell had difficulties finding the support for it as many felt it was an attack on the Soviets who were allies in the war. Animal Farm would finally be published in 1945 and was the work that propelled Orwell to new heights of fame. Eileen died in March of 1945 after having a hysterectomy.

In the year following her death, Orwell wrote 130 articles and mixed journalism for numerous magazines and newspapers, as well as writing what would be his greatest work, 1984, published in 1949.

Orwell became seriously ill around this time, suffering with tuberculosis. Orwell had been courting Sonia Brownell and married her while in hospital in October 1949. By Christmas Orwell was very weak and in January of 1950, aged 46, he died. In accordance with his wishes, Orwell was buried. He lies in All Saint’s Churchyard in Oxford, as it was impossible for him to be buried in London.

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