On George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair (1903 — 1950), better known as George Orwell, was an English writer. Although he was an accomplished essayist, he gained his fame through later works such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
He was born in India but grew up in England. When he was eight years old, his parents sent him off to a private prep school in Sussex. As a young adult in the 1920s, he served as a member of the Indian Imperial Police. After Blair resigned from his post in Burma, he tramped around London and Paris. He set out as a wanderer, sometimes without any place to stay, recording the daily struggles of the poor.
He wrote enough to get by but didn’t find much acclaim until years later. During different periods of his early adulthood, he picked hops in a field, washed dirty dishes in fancy restaurants, taught teenagers at a private school, and clerked in a bookshop.
Ever since the publication of his first book (Down and Out in Paris and London), which was seen as too scandalous for the time, he wrote under the pseudonym of George Orwell.
In 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War, he volunteered to fight in Spain. He joined up with the communists and anarchists and socialists, among other leftist groups, in opposition to fascist powers.
During a battle on the front, a sniper shot him in his throat, almost killing him. While recovering from his wounds, he was forced to flee to France after conditions around him became too unsafe (Soviet propaganda turned against the militia he once was a member of). After many dissenters were repressed, Blair became disillusioned with intellectuals who supported the Soviet Union. Throughout his life, however, he deepened his commitment to democratic socialist principles.
Blair wanted to fight against the Nazis in WWII, but the British army rejected him due to his poor health. He accepted a position at the BBC instead. While there, he contributed a minor part to the propaganda campaign against the fascists. Eventually he quit so he could work on literary pieces for the Tribune, a democratic socialist magazine.
During different periods in his life, Eric Blair worked as a dishwasher, novelist, journalist, schoolteacher, bookshop clerk, and soldier. He was a tramp on the muddy roads of England, a lieutenant in the trenches…