George Orwell (25 June, 1903 – 21 January, 1950) was an English novelist, journalist, critic and writer known for his classic novels such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, published posthumously.
- Born as Eric Arthur Blair in British India. His birthplace in Motihari is now a historical monument.
- As a boy, he attended St. Cyprian School for boys in Eastbourne, and hated it. In his essay Such, Such Were the Boys he called the institution “an expensive and snobbish school which was in process of becoming more snobbish, and, I imagine, more expensive.”
- For most of his career, Mr. Blair worked part-time jobs while writing on the side. He was a police officer for the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, BBC propagandist for the BBC during World War II, an editor, war correspondent, a dishwasher in Paris, as well as a picking hops for breweries in Kent. These part-time jobs were the basis for his book Down and Out in Paris and London, published under the nom-de-plume George Orwell.
- While working in Burma as a police officer he got tattoos in the shape of small grapefruits on his knuckles.
- Mr. Orwell spoke seven languages including English, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Burmese, and French which he learned from Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World) who taught at this school.
- Many of the author’s use of words entered today’s language. Words and phrases such as unperson, doublethink, newspeak, cold war, big brother and thought police or often used. His name is used as the adjective “Orwellian” to describe authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and practices.
- He volunteered to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War because “it seemed the only conceivable thing to do.” Mr. Orwell was shot in the neck by a sniper during the war. His experiences were the put into words in the book Homage to Catalonia.
- In 1944 his home was struck by a V-1 bomb. Luckily Mr. Orwell, his wife Eileen and their son Richard were not home. Mr. Orwell returned to sift through the rubble spending hours looking for the Animal Farm manuscript and other writings.
- In a 1945 essay titled Anti-Semitism in Britain Mr. Orwell stated that he couldn’t understand how seeming rational people will be “irrational and will not yield to arguments”. He also wanted to find out why anti-Semites could “swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others”
- Mr. Orwell requested that no biography of his work will be written. His widow, Sonia Brownell, honored his wish and considered the book Collected Works (1968) to be a record of his life. Eventually Ms. Brownell commissioned Bernard Crick to write a complete biography or her husband, George Orwell: A Life, asking friends to cooperate.
Zohar — Man of la Book
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