George Orwell is one of the most celebrated writers when it comes to novels, essays, and journals. In fact, the Times newspaper in London ranked him as the second most influential British writer since 1945. Orwell focused on poetry, fiction, polemical journalism, and literary criticism. His most famous publications were the Animal Farm in 1945 and Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949. Others included Homage of Catalonia in 1938 and The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937. Orwell had such a great influence on the world that political philosophers coined the term ‘Orwellian’ to describe a phenomenon that is contrary to the ideals of an open and free society. They did so because Orwell had accurately described such phenomena in his books including Politics and the English Language. However, much of Orwell’s life remains unknown to the public. For example, many people do not know that George Orwell was not his real name.
The Birth and Early Life of George Orwell
His birth name was Eric Arthur Blair. That was also his legal name. George Orwell was just his pen name. Born in June 25 1903, Orwell had two sisters. His father, Richard Blair, worked in the Indian Civil Service and his mother, Ida Blair, had various artistic interests. Ida Blair gave birth to Orwell in British India, but she settled with him and his sisters in England in 1904. When he was five years old, Orwell went to a convent school in Oxfordshire run by French Ursuline nuns.
When he was eight years old, he went to St. Cyprian’s School in East Sussex. As part of his schoolwork, Orwell wrote two essays that earned him a scholarship to Eton College as well as Wellington College. He took up the Wellington scholarship in January 1917, before opting for the Eton one in May 1917. At Eton, Orwell was instrumental in the production of college magazines such as The Election Times, College Days and finally, Bubble and Squeak.
The Adult Life and Death of George Orwell
Orwell had many interesting careers during his adult years. For example, he set out to join the Indian Police Service in 1922 in Burma and got his first official posting in 1924. In 1927, he developed dengue fever and traveled back to England to nurse his illness. During this time, he re-examined his life and decided to resign from the Indian Police Force. He moved to Paris, France in 1928 and there, he started writing novels. He also became a journalist publishing various articles in Monde, which was a French communist magazine.
In 1929, Orwell moved back to England. Here he lived with his sister and her family. He became a tutor to various boys during this time, which prepared him for teaching career at The Hawthorns School for boys and Frays College. In October 1934, he became a part-time assistant at a bookshop in Hampstead, a village area in London. He quit this job in January 1936. One year after he quit, he wrote The Road to Wigan Pier whose publisher was Gollancz. Orwell set out for Spain in 1936 to fight in the Spanish Civil War in his attempt to combat the rise of fascism in Europe. A sniper bullet hit him in his throat during the war. He was able to escape Spain in 1937.
When the Second World War broke out, Orwell could not join the army because of his condition. Instead, he focused on plays, books, and films. In fact, he started work on the Animal Farm in 1943. After this time, he published many other books including Nineteen Eighty-Four. He developed tuberculosis in 1947 and died on 21 January 1950.
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