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Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 â€“ 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, journalist and satirist. His works were published in the 1930s and 1940s and were largely political in nature. Of his many works, his most famous are the satirical novel Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). He volunteered for militia service in the Spanish civil war and wrote his personal account in Homage to Catalonia. His work is marked by a profound consciousness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism. Considered "perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture," he wrote works in many different genres including novels, essays, polemic journalism, sociological literary criticism, and poetry.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Novels
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early life and education
Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 in Motihari, Bihar, Bengal Presidency, British India. His great-grandfather Charles Blair had been a wealthy plantation owner in Jamaica and his grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, a clergyman. Although the gentility was passed down the generations, the prosperity was not; Eric Blair described his family as "lower-upper-middle class". His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (nÃ©e Limouzin), grew up in Burma where her French father was involved in speculative ventures. Eric had two sisters; Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, Ida Blair took him to England.
After a term at Wellington College, Blair transferred to Eton College, where he was a King's Scholar (1917â€“1921). Blair's academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies, but during his time he worked with Roger Mynors to produce a college magazine and participated in the Eton Wall Game. In October 1922, he embarked on the journey to join the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. In Katha he contracted Dengue fever in 1927. While on leave in England in 1927, he reappraised his life and resigned from the Indian Imperial Police with the intention of becoming a writer. His Burma police experience yielded the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays "A Hanging" (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant" (1936).
Back in England, he visited his old tutor Gow at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer, and as a result he decided to move to London. Following the precedent of Jack London, whom he admired, he started his exploratory expeditions to the poorer parts of London. On his first outing he set out to Limehouse Causeway spending his first night in a common lodging house, possibly George Levy's 'kip'. For a while he "went native" in his own country, dressing like a tramp and making no concessions to middle class mores and expectations; he recorded his experiences of the low life for later use in "The Spike", his first published essay, and the latter half of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933).
In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where the comparatively low cost of living and bohemian lifestyle offered an attraction for many aspiring writers. Successful as a journalist, he published articles in Monde (not to be confused with Le Monde), G. K.'s Weekly and Le Progres Civique (founded by the left-wing coalition Le Cartel des Gauches).
He fell seriously ill in March 1929 and shortly afterwards had all his money stolen from the lodging house. Whether through necessity or simply to collect material, he undertook menial jobs like dishwashing in a fashionable hotel on the Rue de Rivoli providing experiences to be used in Down and Out in Paris and London. In August 1929 he sent a copy of "The Spike" to New Adelphi magazine in London, which was accepted for publication.
Meanwhile, Blair now contributed regularly to Adelphi, with "A Hanging" appearing in August 1931. In August and September 1931 his explorations extended to following the East End tradition of working in the Kent hop fields (an activity which his lead character in A Clergyman's Daughter also engages in). At the end of this, he ended up in the Tooley Street kip, but could not stand it for long and with a financial contribution from his parents moved to Windsor Street where he stayed until Christmas. "Hop Picking", by Eric Blair, appeared in in the October 1931 issue of New Statesman, where Cyril Connolly was on the staff. Mabel Fierz put him in contact with Leonard Moore who was to become his literary agent.
At this time Jonathan Cape rejected A Scullion's Diary, the first version of Down and Out. On the advice of Richard Rees he offered it to Faber & Faber, whose editorial director, T. S. Eliot, also rejected it. To conclude the year Blair attempted another exploratory venture of getting himself arrested so that he could spend Christmas in prison, but the relevant authorities did not cooperate and he returned home to Southwold after two days in a police cell.
Blair then took a job teaching at the Hawthorne High School for Boys, a small school that provided private schooling for local tradesmen and shopkeepers. Victor Gollancz, a publisher of radical and socialist works offered to publish A Scullion's Diary for a Â£40 advance. In 1932 Blair returned to Southwold, where his parents had been able to buy their own home as a result of a legacy. Blair worked on Burmese Days.
"Clink", an essay describing his failed attempt to get sent to prison, appeared in the August 1932 number of Adelphi. He returned to teaching at Hayes and prepared for the publication of his work now known as Down and Out in Paris and London which he wished to publish under an assumed name. In a letter to Moore (dated 15 November 1932) he left the choice of pseudonym to him and to Gollancz. Four days later, he wrote to Moore, suggesting the pseudonyms P. S. Burton (a name he used when tramping), Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. He finally adopted the nom de plume George Orwell because, as he told Eleanor Jacques, "It is a good round English name." Down and Out in Paris and London was published on 9 January 1933 but Blair was back at the school at Hayes. He had little free time and was still working on Burmese Days. Down and Out was successful and it was published by Harper and Brothers in New York.
In the summer Blair finished at Hawthornes to take up a teaching job at Frays College. He acquired a motorcycle and took trips through the surrounding countryside. On one of these expeditions he became soaked and caught a chill which developed into pneumonia. He was taken to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital where for a time his life was believed to be in danger. He returned to Southwold to convalesce and never returned to teaching.
He was disappointed when Gollancz turned down Burmese Days, mainly on the grounds of potential libel actions but Harpers were prepared to publish it in the United States. Meanwhile back at home Blair started work on the novel A Clergyman's Daughter drawing upon his life as a teacher and on life in Southwold.
He worked as a part-time assistant in "Booklover's Corner", a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead run by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope who were friends of Nellie Limouzin in the Esperanto movement. The Westropes had an easy-going outlook and provided him with comfortable accommodation at Warwick Mansions, Pond Street. He was job sharing with Jon Kimche; Blair worked at the shop in the afternoons, having the mornings free to write and the evenings to socialise. These experiences provided background for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). As well as the various guests of the Westropes, he was able to enjoy the company of Richard Rees and the Adelphi writers and Mabel Fierz. The Westropes and Kimche were members of the Independent Labour Party although at this time Blair was not seriously politically aligned. He was writing for the Adelphi and dealing with pre-publication issues with A Clergymans Daughter and Burmese Days. A Clergyman's Daughter was published on the 11 March 1935. In the spring of 1935 Blair met his future wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy when his landlady, who was studying at the University of London, invited some of her fellow students. Around this time, Blair had started to write reviews for the New English Weekly.
During this time (May 1935) he used the pseudonym "George Orwell", apparently for the first time â€”in a review of the book Caliban Shrieks by Jack Hilton, for The Adelphi. On 24 December 1943, the Tribune published, under the authorship of "John Freeman", the short essay Can Socialists Be Happy?, which has since been broadly attributed to Orwell.
In July, Burmese Days was published and following Connolly's review of it in the New Statesman, the two re-established contact. Blair shared a flat with Michael Sayer and Rayner Heppenstall while working on Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and writing an unsuccessful serial for the News Chronicle. By October 1935 his flat-mates had moved out, and he was struggling to pay the rent on his own.
The Road to Wigan Pier
At this time, Victor Gollancz suggested Orwell spend a short time investigating social conditions in economically depressed northern England. George Gorer recollects that this was a specific commission with a Â£500 advance.
On 31 January 1936, Orwell set out by public transport and on foot, to Manchester. Trade union official Frank Meade, suggested Wigan, where Orwell spent February staying in dirty lodgings over a tripe shop. At Wigan, he gained entry to many houses to see how people lived, took systematic notes of housing conditions and wages earned, went down a coal mine, and spent days at the local public library consulting public health records and reports on working conditions in mines.
During this time he was distracted by dealing with libel and stylistic issues relating to Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He made a quick visit to Liverpool and spent March in South Yorkshire, spending time in Sheffield and Barnsley. As well as visiting mines and observing social conditions, he attended meetings of the Communist Party and of Oswald Mosley where he saw the tactics of the Blackshirts.
His investigations gave rise to The Road to Wigan Pier, published by Gollancz for the Left Book Club in 1937. The first half of this work documents his social investigations of Lancashire and Yorkshire. It begins with an evocative description of working life in the coal mines. The second half is a long essay of his upbringing, and the development of his political conscience, which includes criticism of some of the groups on the left. Gollancz feared the second half would offend readers and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain.
Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy on 9 June 1936. Shortly afterwards, the political crisis began in Spain and Orwell followed developments there closely. At the end of the year, concerned by Francisco Franco's Falangist uprising, Orwell decided to go to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Under the erroneous impression that he needed papers to cross the frontier, on John Strachey's recommendation Orwell applied unsuccessfully to Harry Pollitt, leader of the British Communist Party, who suggested joining the International Brigade and advised him to get safe passage from the Spanish Embassy in Paris. Not wishing to commit himself until he'd seen the situation in situ, Orwell instead used his Independent Labour Party contacts to get a letter of introduction to John McNair in Barcelona.
The Spanish Civil War and Catalonia
Orwell set out for Spain on about 23 December, dining with Henry Miller in Paris on the way. A few days later at Barcelona, he met John McNair of the ILP Office who quoted him: "I've come to fight against Fascism". Orwell stepped into a complex political situation in Catalonia. The Second Spanish Republic was supported by a number of factions with conflicting aims, including the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM â€” Partido Obrero de UnificaciÃ³n Marxista), the anarcho-syndicalist ConfederaciÃ³n Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (a wing of the Communist Party of Spain. The ILP was linked to the POUM and so Orwell joined the POUM.
After a time at the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona he was sent to the relatively quiet Aragon Front under Georges Kopp. By January 1937 he was at Alcubierre 1500 feet above sea level in the depth of winter. There was very little military action, and the lack of equipment and other deprivations made it uncomfortable. Orwell, with his Cadet Corps and police training was quickly made a corporal. On the arrival of a British ILP Contingent about three weeks later, Orwell and the other English militiaman, Williams, were sent with them to Monte Oscuro. The newly-arrived ILP contingent included Bob Smillie, Bob Edwards, Stafford Cottman and Jack Branthwaite. The unit was then sent on to Huesca.
Meanwhile, back in England, Eileen had been handling the issues relating to the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier before setting out for Spain herself. Eileen volunteered for a post in John McNair's office and with the help of Georges Kopp paid visits to her husband. Orwell had to spend some days in hospital with a poisoned hand and had most of his possessions stolen by the staff. He returned to the front and saw some action in night attack on the Nationalist trenches where he chased an enemy soldier with a bayonet and bombed an enemy rifle position.
In April, Orwell returned to Barcelona where he applied to join the International Brigades to become involved in fighting closer to Madrid. However this was the time of Barcelona May Days and Orwell was caught up in the factional fighting. He spent much of the time on a roof, with a stack of novels, but encountered Jon Kimche from his Hampstead days during the stay. The subsequent campaign of lies and distortion carried out by the Communist press, in which the POUM was accused of collaborating with the fascists, had a dramatic effect on Orwell. Instead of joining the International Brigades as he had intended, he decided to return to the Aragon Front. Once the May fighting was over, he was approached by a Communist friend who asked if he still intended transferring to the International Brigades. Orwell expressed surprise that they should still want him, because according to the Communist press he was a fascist.
After his return to the front, a sniper's bullet caught him in the throat. Orwell was considerably taller than the Spanish fighters and had been warned against standing against the trench parapet. Unable to speak, and with blood pouring from his mouth, Orwell was stretchered to SiÃ©tamo, loaded on an ambulance and after a bumpy journey via Barbastro arrived at the hospital at Lerida. He recovered sufficiently to get up and on the 27 May 1937 was sent on to Tarragona and two days later to a POUM sanatorium in the suburbs of Barcelona. The bullet had missed his main artery by the barest margin and his voice was barely audible. He received electrotherapy treatment and was declared medically unfit for service.
By the middle of June the political situation in Barcelona had deteriorated and the POUM â€” seen by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organisation â€” was outlawed and under attack. Members, including Kopp, were arrested and others were in hiding. Orwell and his wife were under threat and had to lay low, although they broke cover to try to help Kopp.
Finally with their passports in order, they escaped from Spain by train, diverting to Banyuls-sur-Mer for a short stay before returning to England. Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War gave rise to Homage to Catalonia (1938).
Rest and recuperation
Orwell returned to England in June 1937, and stayed at the O'Shaughnessy home at Greenwich. He found his views on the Spanish Civil War out of favour. Kingsley Martin rejected two of his works and Gollancz was equally cautious. At the same time, the communist Daily Worker was running an attack on The Road to Wigan Pier, misquoting Orwell as saying "the working classes smell"; a letter to Gollancz from Orwell threatening libel action brought a stop to this. Orwell was also able to find a more sympathetic publisher for his views in Frederic Warburg of Secker & Warburg. Orwell returned to Wallington, which he found in disarray after his absence. He acquired goats, a rooster he called "Henry Ford", and a poodle he called "Marx" and settled down to animal husbandry and writing Homage to Catalonia.
There were thoughts of going to India to work on a local newspaper there, but by March 1938 Orwell's health had deteriorated. He was admitted to a sanitorium at Aylesford, Kent to which his brother-in-law Laurence O'Shaughnessy was attached. He was thought initially to be suffering from tuberculosis and stayed in the sanitorium until September. A stream of visitors came to see him including Common, Heppenstall, Plowman and Cyril Connolly. Connolly brought with him Stephen Spender, a cause of some embarrassment as Orwell had referred to Spender as a "pansy friend" some time earlier. Homage to Catalonia was published by Secker & Warburg and was a commercial flop. In the latter part of his stay at the clinic Orwell was able to go for walks in the countryside and study nature.
The novelist L.H. Myers secretly funded a trip to French Morocco for half a year for Orwell to avoid the English winter and recover his health. The Orwells set out in September 1938 via Gibraltar and Tangier to avoid Spanish Morocco and arrived at Marrakech. They rented a villa on the road to Casablanca and during that time Orwell wrote Coming Up for Air. They arrived back in England on 30 March 1939 and Coming Up for Air was published in June. Time was spent between Wallington and Southwold working on Orwell's Dickens essay and it was in July 1939 that Orwell's father, Richard Blair, died.
World War II and Animal Farm
On the outbreak of World War II, Orwell's wife Eileen started work in the Censorship Department in London. Orwell also submitted his name to the Central Register for war effort but nothing transpired. He returned to Wallington, and in the autumn of 1939 he wrote essays for Inside the Whale. For the next year he was occupied writing reviews for plays, films and books for The Listener, Time and Tide magazine and New Adelphi. At the beginning of 1940, the first edition of Connolly's Horizon magazine appeared, and this provided a new outlet for Orwell's work as well as new literary contacts. In May the Orwells took lease of a flat in London at Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, Marylebone. It was the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the death in France of Eileen's brother Lawrence caused her considerable grief and long term depression.
Orwell was declared "Unfit for any kind of military service" by the Medical Board in June, but soon afterwards found an opportunity to become involved in war activities by joining the British Home Guard. He shared Tom Wintringham's socialist vision for the Home Guard as a revolutionary People's Militia. Sergeant Orwell managed to recruit Frederic Warburg to his unit. During the Battle of Britain he used to spend weekends with Warburg and his new friend Zionist Tosco Fyvel at Twyford, Berkshire. At Wallington he worked on "England Your England" and in London wrote reviews for various periodicals. Visiting Eileen's family in Greenwich brought him face-to-face with the effects of the blitz on East London.
Early in 1941 he started writing for the American Partisan Review and contributed to Gollancz' anthology The Betrayal of the Left, written in the light of the Hitler-Stalin pact. He also applied unsuccessfully for a job at the Air Ministry. In the Home Guard his mishandling of a mortar put two of his unit in hospital. Meanwhile he was still writing reviews of books and plays and at this time met the novelist Anthony Powell. He also took part in a few radio broadcasts for the Eastern Service of the BBC. In March the Orwells moved to St John's Wood in a 7th floor flat at Langford Court, while at Wallington Orwell was "digging for victory" by planting potatoes.
In August 1941, Orwell finally obtained "war work" when he was taken on full time by the BBC's Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India in the context of propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. This was Orwell's first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office. However it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand, and William Empson among others.
At the end of August he had a dinner with H. G. Wells which degenerated into a row because Wells had taken offence at observations Orwell made about him in a Horizon article. In October Orwell had a bout of bronchitis and the illness recurred frequently. David Astor was looking for a provocative contributor for The Observer and invited Orwell to write for him â€” the first article appearing in March 1942. In spring of 1942 Eileen changed jobs to work at the Ministry of Food and Orwell's mother and sister Avril took war work in London and came to stay with them. They all moved to a basement at Mortimer Crescent in Kilburn in the summer.
At the BBC, Orwell introduced Voice a literary programme for his Indian broadcasts, and by now was leading an active social life with literary friends, particularly on the political left. Late in 1942, he started writing for the weekly Tribune magazine directed by Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and George Strauss. In March 1943 Orwell's mother died and around the same time he told Moore he was starting work on a new book, which would turn out to be Animal Farm.
In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years. His resignation followed a report confirming his fears that few Indians listened to the broadcasts, but he was also keen to concentrate on writing Animal Farm. At this time he was also discharged from the Home Guard.
In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews as well as the regular column "As I Please". He was still writing reviews for other magazines, and becoming a respected pundit among left-wing circles but also close friends with people on the right like Powell, Astor and Malcolm Muggeridge. By April 1944 Animal Farm was ready for publication. Gollancz refused to publish it, considering it an attack on the Soviet regime which was a crucial ally in the war. A similar fate was met from other publishers (including T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber) until Jonathan Cape agreed to take it.
In May the Orwells had the opportunity to adopt a child, thanks to the contacts of Eileen's sister Gwen O'Shaughnassy, then a doctor in Newcastle upon Tyne. In June a V-1 flying bomb landed on Mortimer Crescent and the Orwells had to find somewhere else to live. Orwell had to scrabble around in the rubble for his collection of books, which he had finally managed to transfer from Wallington, and carting them away in a wheelbarrow.
Another bombshell was Cape's withdrawal of support of Animal Farm. The decision is believed to be due to the influence of Peter Smollett, who worked at the Ministry of Information and was later disclosed to be a Soviet agent.
The Orwells spent some time in the North East dealing with matters in the adoption of a boy whom they named Richard Horatio. In October 1944 they had set up home in Islington in a flat on the 7th floor of a block. Baby Richard joined them there, and Eileen gave up work to look after her family. Secker and Warburg had agreed to publish Animal Farm, planned for the following March, although it did not appear in print until August 1945. By February 1945 David Astor had invited Orwell to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Orwell had been looking for the opportunity throughout the war, but his failed medical reports prevented him from being allowed anywhere near action. He went to Paris after the liberation of France and to Cologne once it had been occupied.
It was while he was there that Eileen went into hospital for a hysterectomy and died under anaesthetic on 29 March 1945. She had not given Orwell much notice about this operation because of worries about the cost and because she expected to make a speedy recovery. Orwell returned home for a while and then went back to Europe. He returned finally to London to cover the 1945 UK General Election at the beginning of July. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the U.S., on 26 August 1946.
Jura and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Animal Farm struck a particular resonance in the post-war climate and its worldwide success made Orwell a sought-after figure.
For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work â€” mainly for the Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines â€” with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949.
In the year following Eileen's death he published around 130 articles and was active in various political lobbying campaigns. He employed a housekeeper, Susan Watson, to look after his adopted son at the Islington flat, which visitors now described as "bleak". In September he spent a fortnight on the island of Jura, Scotland in the Inner Hebrides and saw it as a place to escape from the hassle of London literary life. During the winter of 1945 to 1946 Orwell made several hopeless and unwelcome marriage proposals to younger women, including Celia Kirwan (Arthur Koestler's sister-in-law), Ann Popham who happened to live in the same block of flats and Sonia Brownell, one of Connolly's coterie at the Horizon office. Orwell suffered a tubercular haemorrhage in February 1946 but disguised his illness. In 1945 or early 1946, while still living at Canonbury Square, Orwell wrote an article on "British Cookery", complete with recipes, commissioned by the British Council. Given the post-war shortages, both parties agreed not to publish it. His sister Marjorie died of kidney disease in May and shortly after, on 22 May 1946, Orwell set off to live at Jura.
Barnhill was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near the northern end of the island, situated at the end of a five-mile (8 km), heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the owners lived. Conditions at the farmhouse were primitive but the natural history and the challenge of improving the place appealed to Orwell. His sister Avril accompanied him there and young novelist Paul Potts made up the party. In July Susan Watson arrived with his son Richard. Tensions developed and Potts departed after one of his manuscripts was used to light the fire. Orwell meanwhile set to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Later Susan Watson's boyfriend David Holbrook arrived. A fan of Orwell since schooldays, he found the reality very different, with Orwell hostile and disagreeable probably because of Holbrook's membership of the Communist Party. Susan Watson could no longer stand being with Avril and she and her boyfriend left.
Orwell returned to London in late 1946 and picked up his literary journalism again. Now a well-known writer, he was swamped with work. Apart from a visit to Jura in the new year he stayed in London for one of the coldest British winters on record and with such a national shortage of fuel that he burnt his furniture and his child's toys. The heavy smog in the days before the Clean Air Act of 1956 did little to help his health about which he was reticent, keeping clear of medical attention. Meanwhile he had to cope with rival claims of publishers Gollancz and Warburg for publishing rights. About this time he co-edited a collection titled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. In April 1947 he left London for good, ending the leases on the Islington flat and Wallington cottage. Back on Jura in gales and rainstorms he struggled to get on with Nineteen Eighty-Four but through the summer and autumn made good progress. During that time his sister's family visited, and Orwell led a disastrous boating expedition which nearly led to loss of life and a soaking which was not good for his health. In December a chest specialist was summoned from Glasgow who pronounced Orwell seriously ill and a week before Christmas 1947 he was in Hairmyres hospital in East Kilbride, then a small village in the countryside, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and the request for permission to import streptomycin to treat Orwell went as far as Aneurin Bevan, now Minister of Health. By the end of July 1948 Orwell was able to return to Jura and by December he had finished the manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In January 1949, in a very weak condition, he set off for a sanatorium in Gloucestershire, escorted by Richard Rees.
The sanatorium at Cranham consisted of a series of small wooden chalets or huts in a remote part of the Cotswolds near Stroud. Visitors were shocked by Orwell's appearance and concerned by the short-comings and ineffectiveness of the treatment. Friends were worried about his finances, but by now he was comparatively well-off and making arrangements with his accountants to reduce his tax bill. He was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had "rediscovered" him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell's list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs. Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim.
Final months and death
Orwell courted Sonia Brownell a second time during the summer, and they announced their marriage in September, shortly before he was removed to University College Hospital in London. Sonia took charge of Orwell's affairs and attended diligently in hospital causing concern to some old friends like Muggeridge. The wedding took place in the hospital room on 13 October 1949, with David Astor as best man. Orwell was in decline and visited by an assortment of visitors including Muggeridge, Connolly, Lucian Freud, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Paul Potts, Anthony Powell and his Eton tutor Anthony Gow. Plans to go to the Swiss Alps were mooted, but Orwell was getting weaker by Christmas. Early on the morning of 21 January 1950, an artery burst in his lungs, killing him at age 46.
Orwell requested to be buried in accordance with the Anglican rite in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die. His gravestone bears the simple epitaph: "Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born 25 June 1903, died 21 January 1950"; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name.
Orwell liked to provoke argument by challenging the status quo, but he was also a traditionalist with a love of old English values. He criticised and satirised, from the inside, the various social milieus in which he found himself - provincial town life in A Clergyman's Daughter; middle class pretention in Keep the Aspidistra Flying; preparatory schools in Such Such were the Joys; colonialism in Burmese Days, and socialist groups in the The Road to Wigan Pier. In his Adelphi days he described himself as a "Tory-anarchist".
The Spanish Civil War played the most important part in defining Orwell's socialism. He wrote to Cyril Connolly from Barcelona on 8 June 1937: "I have seen wonderful things and at last really believe in Socialism, which I never did before". Having witnessed the success of the anarcho-syndicalist communities, and the subsequent brutal suppression of the anarcho-syndicalists and other revolutionaries by the Soviet Union-backed Communists, Orwell returned from Catalonia a staunch anti-Stalinist and joined the Independent Labour Party, his card being issued on 13 June 1938. Although he was never a Trotskyist, he was strongly influenced by the Trotskyist and anarchist critiques of the Soviet regime, and by the anarchists' emphasis on individual freedom. In Part 2 of The Road to Wigan Pier, published by the Left Book Club, Orwell stated: "a real Socialist is one who wishes - not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes - to see tyranny overthrown". Orwell stated in "Why I Write" (1946): "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it." Orwell was a proponent of a federal socialist Europe, a position outlined in his 1947 essay "Toward European Unity", which first appeared in Partisan Review. According to biographer John Newsinger,
the other crucial dimension to Orwell's socialism was his recognition that the Soviet Union was not socialist. Unlike many on the left, instead of abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a socialist--indeed he became more committed to the socialist cause than ever."In his 1938 essay "Why I joined the Independent Labour Party", published in the ILP-affiliated New Leader, Orwell wrote:
For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me several pounds a week for writing books against capitalism. But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs is going to last forever ... the only rÃ©gime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist rÃ©gime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer - that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.
Towards the end of the essay, he wrote: "I do not mean I have lost all faith in the Labour Party. My most earnest hope is that the Labour Party will win a clear majority in the next General Election."
Like most other supporters of pacifism or socialism in the United Kingdom in the pre-World War II era,, Orwell was opposed to rearmament against Nazi Germany â€” but he changed his view after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the outbreak of the war. He left the ILP and adopted a political position of "revolutionary patriotism". In December 1940 he wrote in Tribune (the Labour left's weekly): "We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary." During the war, Orwell was highly critical of the popular idea that an Anglo-Soviet alliance would be the basis of a post-war world of peace and prosperity. In 1942, commenting journalist E. H. Carr's pro-Soviet views, Orwell stated: "all the appeasers, e.g. Professor E. H. Carr, have switched their allegiance from Hitler to Stalin."
On anarchism, Orwell wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier: "I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can be trusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone." He continued to deconstruct his former opinion as "sentimental nonsense" and argued that "it is always necessary to protect peaceful people from violence. In any state of society where crime can be profitable you have got to have a harsh criminal law and administer it ruthlessly."
In his reply (dated 15 November 1943) to an invitation from the Katharine Stewart-Murray, Duchess of Atholl to speak for the British League for European Freedom, he stated that he didn't agree with their objectives. He admitted that what they said was "more truthful than the lying propaganda found in most of the press" but added that he could not "associate himself with an essentially Conservative body" that claimed to "defend democracy in Europe" but had "nothing to say about British imperialism". His closing paragraph stated: "I belong to the Left and must work inside it, much as I hate Russian totalitarianism and its poisonous influence in this country."
Orwell joined the staff of Tribune as literary editor, and from then until his death, was a left-wing (though hardly orthodox) Labour-supporting democratic socialist. According to Newsinger, although Orwell "was always critical of the 1945-51 Labour government's moderation, his support for it began to pull him to the right politically. This did not lead him to embrace conservatism, imperialism or reaction, but to defend, albeit critically, Labour reformism." Between 1945 and 1947, with A. J. Ayer and Bertrand Russell, he contributed a series of articles and essays to Polemic, a short-lived British "Magazine of Philosophy, Psychology, and Aesthetics" edited by the ex-Communist Humphrey Slater.
Writing in the spring of 1945 a long essay titled "Antisemitism in Britain", for the Contemporary Jewish Record, Orwell stated that anti-Semitism was on the increase in Britain, and that it was "irrational and will not yield to arguments." He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could "swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others." He wrote: "For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. ... Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own anti-Semitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness." In Nineteen Eighty-Four, written shortly after the war, Orwell portrayed the Party as enlisting anti-Semitic passions against their enemy, Goldstein. Nevertheless, he opposed the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, taking an anti-colonialist stance against Zionism.
Orwell publicly defended P.G. Wodehouse against charges of being a Nazi sympathiser; a defence based on Wodehouse's lack of interest in and ignorance of politics.
The British intelligence group Special Branch maintained a file on Orwell for more than 20 years of his life. The dossier, published by The National Archives, mentions that according to one investigator, Orwell had "advanced Communist views and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings". MI5, the intelligence department of the Home Office, noted: "It is evident from his recent writings â€” 'The Lion and the Unicorn' â€” and his contribution to Gollancz's symposium The Betrayal of the Left that he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him."
Influence on language and writing
During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism, in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage: Down and Out in Paris and London (describing a period of poverty in these cities), The Road to Wigan Pier (describing the living conditions of the poor in northern England, and the class divide generally) and Homage to Catalonia.
Coming Up for Air, his last novel before World War II is the most English of his novels; alarums of war mingle with images of idyllic Thames-side Edwardian childhood of protagonist George Bowling. The novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of Old England, and there were great, new external threats. In homely terms, Bowling posits the totalitarian hypotheses of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler: "Old Hitler's something different. So's Joe Stalin. They aren't like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it ... They're something quite new â€” something that's never been heard of before".
Throughout his life Orwell continually supported himself as a book reviewer, writing works so long and sophisticated they have had an influence on literary criticism.
Koestler mentioned Orwell's "uncompromising intellectual honesty [which] made him appear almost inhuman at times." Ben Wattenberg stated: "Orwellâ€™s writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it." According to historian Piers Brendon, "Orwell was the saint of common decency who would in earlier days, said his BBC boss Rushbrook Williams, 'have been either canonised - or burnt at the stake'. However, Raymond Williams in Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review describes Orwell as a "successful impersonation of a plain man who bumps into experience in an unmediated way and tells the truth about it."
Orwell's work has taken a prominent place in the school literature curriculum, with Animal Farm often being seen as an examination topic for early the early teens (GCSE in the UK), and Nineteen Eighty-Four as a topic for pre university examinations (A Levels in the UK). Alan Brown noted that this brings to the forefront questions about the political content of teaching practices. Study aids, in particular with potted biographies have helped propagate the Orwell myth so that as an embodiment of human values he is presented as a "trustworthy guide", while examination questions sometimes suggest a "right ways of answering" in line with the myth.
John Rodden remarks on how "to some extent Orwell facilitated the kinds of uses and abuses by the Right that his name has been put to. In other ways there has been the politics of selective quotation." Rodden refers to the essay Why I Write, in which Orwell refers to the Spanish Civil War as being his "watershed political experience", saying "The Spanish War and other events in 1936-37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it."
In his essay Politics and the English Language (1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of honest and clear language and said that vague writing can be used as a tool of political manipulation. In Nineteen Eighty-Four he described how the state controlled thought by controlling language, making certain ideas literally unthinkable. The adjective Orwellian refers to the frightening world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which the state controls thought and misinformation is widespread. Several words and phrases from Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered popular language. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone.
From Orwell's novel Animal Farm comes the sentence, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others", describing theoretical equality in a grossly unequal society. Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war, in his essay, "You and the Atomic Bomb", published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote: "We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications;â€” this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of 'cold war' with its neighbours."
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive voice where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Years later, Blair mordantly recalled his Prep School in the essay "Such, Such Were the Joys", claiming among other things that he "was made to study like a dog" to earn a scholarship, which he alleged that was solely to enhance the school's prestige with parents. Jacintha Buddicom repudiated Orwell's schoolboy misery described in the essay, stating that "he was a specially happy child".
Connolly remarked of him as a schoolboy, "The remarkable thing about Orwell was that alone among the boys he was an intellectual and not a parrot for he thought for himself". At Eton his former headmaster's son observed, "He was extremely argumentative â€” about anything â€” and criticising the masters and criticising the other boys.... We enjoyed arguing with him. He would generally win the arguments â€” or think he had anyhow."
Blair liked to carry out practical jokes. Blair had an enduring interest in natural history which stemmed from his childhood. His adult diaries are permeated with his observations on nature. His zeal for scientific experiments extended to explosives; his sister Avril recalled him blowing up the garden.
In a letter to Ann Popham he wrote: 'I was sometimes unfaithful to Eileen, and I also treated her badly, and I think she treated me badly, too, at times, but it was a real marriage, in the sense that we had been through awful struggles together and she understood all about my work, etc.'
Orwell was very lonely after Eileen's death, and desperate for a wife, both as companion for himself and as mother for Richard. He proposed marriage to four women, and eventually Sonia Brownell accepted.
Orwell was noted for very close and enduring friendships with a few friends, but these were generally people with a similar background or with a similar level of literary ability. Ungregarious, he was out of place in a crowd and his discomfort was exacerbated when he was outside his own class. Adrian Fierz commented "He wasn't interested in racing or greyhounds or pub crawling or shove ha'penny. He just did not have much in common with people who did not share his intellectual interests".
In his tramping days, he did domestic work for a time. His extreme politeness was recalled by a member of the family he worked for; she declared that the family referred to him as "Laurel" after the film comedian Stan Laurel.
The young recruits in Barcelona tried to drink him under the table â€” though without success. Some, like Michael Ayrton, called him "Gloomy George", but others developed the idea that he was a "secular saint".
Orwell was a heavy smoker, rolling his own cigarettes from strong shag tobacco, in spite of his bronchial condition, and he even smoked in sanatoriums and hospitals, which was permitted in those days. He undermined his health with a penchant for the rugged life which often put him in cold and damp situations both in the long term as in Catalonia and Jura, and short term, for example in motorcycling in the rain and a shipwreck of his own creation. His love of strong tea was legendary â€” he had Fortnum & Mason's tea brought to him in Catalonia and in 1946 published "A Nice Cup of Tea" on how to make it. He appreciated English beer, taken regularly and moderately, and despised drinkers of lager. Not being particular about food, he enjoyed the wartime "Victory Pie" extolled canteen food at the BBC and once ate the cat's dinner by mistake. However he preferred traditional English dishes such as roast beef and kippers and reports of his Islington days refer to the cosy afternoon tea table.
His dress sense was unpredictable and usually casual. In Southwold he had the best cloth from the local tailor, but was equally happy in his tramping outfit. His attire in the Spanish Civil War, along with his size 12 boots was a source of amusement.
Orwell's will requested that no biography of him be written, and his wife Sonia Orwell repelled every attempt by those who tried to persuade her to let them write about him. Various recollections and interpretations were published in the 1950s and 1960s but Sonia saw the 1968 Collected Works as the record of his life.
- Burmese Days (1934)
- A Clergyman's Daughter (1935)
- Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936)
- Coming up for Air (1939)
- Animal Farm (1945)
- Nineteen eighty-four (1949)
- Books based on personal experiences
While the substance of many of Orwell's novels, particularly Burmese Days, is drawn from his personal experiences, the following are works presented as narrative documentaries, rather than being fictionalised.
- Down and Out in Paris and London (1933)
- The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)
- Homage to Catalonia (1938)
About George Orwell
- Anderson, Paul (ed). Orwell in Tribune: 'As I Please' and Other Writings. Methuen/Politico's 2006. ISBN 1-842-75155-7
- Bowker, Gordon. George Orwell. Little Brown. 2003. ISBN 0-316-86115-4
- Buddicom, Jacintha. Eric & Us. Finlay Publisher. 2006. ISBN 0-9553708-0-9
- Caute, David. Dr. Orwell and Mr. Blair, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-81438-9
- Bernard Crick. George Orwell: A Life. Penguin. 1982. ISBN 0-14-005856-7
- Flynn, Nigel. George Orwell. The Rourke Corporation, Inc. 1990. ISBN 0-86593-018-X
- Hollis, Christopher. A Study of George Orwell: The Man and His Works. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co. 1956. .
- Larkin, Emma. Finding George Orwell in Burma. Penguin. 2005. ISBN 1-59420-052-1
- Lee, Robert A, Orwell's Fiction. University of Notre Dame Press, 1969. LC 74-75151
- Leif, Ruth Ann, Homage to Oceania. The Prophetic Vision of George Orwell. Ohio State U.P. 
- Meyers, Jeffery. Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation. W.W.Norton. 2000. ISBN 0-393-32263-7
- John Newsinger. Orwell's Politics. Macmillan. 1999. ISBN 0-333-68287-4
- John Rodden (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell. Cambridge. 2007. ISBN 987-0-521-85842-7
- Michael Shelden. Orwell: The Authorized Biography. HarperCollins. 1991. ISBN 0-06-016709-2
- Smith, D. & Mosher, M. Orwell for Beginners. 1984. London: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative.
- D. J. Taylor Orwell: The Life. Henry Holt and Company. 2003. ISBN 0-8050-7473-2
- West, W. J. The Larger Evils. Edinburgh: Canongate Press. 1992. ISBN 0-86241-382-6 (Nineteen Eighty-Four â€“ The truth behind the satire.)
- West, W. J. (ed.) George Orwell: The Lost Writings. New York: Arbor House. 1984. ISBN 0-87795-745-2
- Raymond Williams, Orwell, Fontana/Collins, 1971
- George Woodcock. The Crystal Spirit. Little Brown. 1966. ISBN 1-55164-268-9
- Orwell's meeting with dos Passos in 1937 Barcelona referenced in Stephen Koch, â€œThe Breaking Point: Hemingway, dos Passos, and the Murder of Jose Roblesâ€
- Anarchism in Spain
- George Orwell's concepts in '1984'
- Spanish Civil War
- Spanish Revolution
- Homage to Catalonia
- George Orwell. UCL Orwell Archives. URL accessed on 7 November 2008.
- Why I Write" in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.23 (Penguin)
- "Still the Moon Under Water", Economist.com, 28 Jul 2008
- Crick, Bernard (2004). "Eric Arthur Blair [pseud. George Orwell] (1903â€“1950)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
- The Road to Wigan Pier pg 1, Ch. 8
- Bernard Crick George Orwell: A Life Secker & Warburg 1980. Several earlier biographers suggested that Mrs Blair moved to England in 1907 based on information given by Avril Blair reminiscing of a time before she was born. The evidence to the contrary is the diary of Ida Blair for 1905 and a photograph of Eric aged 3 in an English suburban garden. The earlier date also coincides with a difficult posting for Blair senior, and Marjorie (6) needing an English education.
- Bernard Crick George Orwell: A Life, quote from interview with Gow
- D J Taylor Orwell: The Life Chatto & Windus 2003
- Stella Judt I once met George Orwell in I once Met 1996
- Bernard Crick Interview with Geoffrey Stevens in George Orwell: A Life
- Avril Dunn My Brother George Orwell Twentieth Century 1961
- Orwell, Sonia and Angus, Ian (eds.)Orwell: An Age Like This, letters 31 and 33 (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World)
- "Notes on the Spanish Militia" in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.352 (Penguin)
- John McNair â€” Interview with Ian Angus UCL 1964
- Letter to Eileen Blair April 1937 in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.296 (Penguin)
- Newsinger, John "Orwell and the Spanish Revolution" International Socialism Journal Issue 62 Spring 1994
- "Harry Milton - The Man Who Saved Orwell" The Hoover Institute. Retrieved on 23 December 2008
- The author states that evidence discovered at the National Historical Archives in Madrid in 1989 of a security police report to the Tribunal for Espionage and High Treason described 'Eric Blair and his wife Eileen Blair, as 'known Trotskyists' and as 'linking agents of the ILP and the POUM'. Newsinger goes on to state that given Orwell's precarious health, "there can be little doubt that if he had been arrested he would have died in prison."
- Malcolm Muggeridge recalls that when he asked Orwell about the usefulness of such broadcasts, he replied "Perhaps not, he said, somewhat crestfallen. He added, more cheerfully, that anyway, no one could pick up the broadcasts except on short-wave sets which cost about the equivalent of an Indian laborer's earnings over 10 years. At this thought he began to chuckle: a dry, vibrant, somehow rusty chuckle, very characteristic and very endearing." http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Burmese_Days/english/e_mm_int Malcolm Muggeridge: â€œIntroductionâ€ Published: Time Incorporation Book Division, USA, New York. â€” 1962. Burmese Days
- Orwell, G. & Davison, P. I Have Tried to Tell the Truth Secker & Warburg, 1999 ISBN 0436203707, 9780436203701
- Timothy Garton Ash: "Orwell's List" in "The New York Review of Books", Number 14, 25 September 2003
- The Orwell Prize | Life and Work - Exclusive Access to the Orwell Archive.
- Barnhill is located at 56Â° 06' 39" N 5Â° 41' 30" W (British national grid reference system NR705970)
- David Holbrook in Stephen Wadham's Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984
- The Guardian John Ezard Blair's babe Did love turn Orwell into a government stooge? Saturday 21 June 2003
- "George Orwell's Widow; Edited Husband's Works". Associated Press. 12 December 1980, Friday. "London, Friday, 12 December (Associated Press) Sonia Orwell, widow of the writer George Orwell, died here yesterday, The Times of London reported today. The newspaper gave no details."
- "George Orwell, Author, 46, Dead. British Writer, Acclaimed for His '1984' and 'Animal Farm,' is Victim of Tuberculosis. Two Novels Popular Here Distaste for Imperialism". New York Times. 22 January 1950, Sunday. "London, 21 January 1950. George Orwell, noted British novelist, died of tuberculosis in a hospital here today at the age of 46." </li>
- Richard Rees, Orwell: Fugitive from the Camp of Victory, Secker & Warburg 1961
- Rayner Heppenstall, Four Absentees, Barrie and Rockcliff 1960
- Cyril Connolly George Orwell 3 in The Evening Colonnade David Bruce and Watson 1973
- The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.301 (Penguin)
- Bernard Crick George Orwell: A Life Secker & Warburg 1980
- "Why I Write" in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.23 (Penguin)
- The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.373 (Penguin)
- "Why I Write" in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 1 - An Age Like This 1945-1950 p.374 (Penguin)
- Collini, Stefan E. H. Carr: historian of the future. Times.
- Orwell, Sonia and Angus, Ian (eds.). The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 4: In Front of Your Nose (1945-1950) (Penguin)
- John Newsinger in Socialist Review Issue 276 July/August 2003
- Stefan Collini, Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain, Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780199291052
- "Antisemitism in Britain", in As I Please: 1943â€“1945, pp 332â€“341.
- "Notes on Nationalism", 1945
- Staff (4 September 2007). "MI5 confused by Orwell's politics". BBC News (BBC). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6976576.stm. Retrieved 22 November 2008. </li>
- Orwell Today
- "Orwellâ€™s Century" Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg. PBS
- "The saint of common decency" by Piers Brendon The Guardian, 7 June 2003
- Raymond Williams Politics and Letters 1979
- Alan Brown Examining Orwell: Political and Literary Values in Education in Christopher Norris Inside the Myth Orwell:Views from the Left Lawrence and Wishart 1984
- George Orwell: You and the Atomic Bomb
- George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1946.
- Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise, 1938 ISBN 0-233-97936-0
- John Wilkes in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell" Penguin Books 1984.
- Roger Mynors in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984.
- George Orwell: A Life, Bernard Crick, p.480
- Adrian Fierz in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell
- Lettice Cooper in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984
- Julian Symonds in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984
- Sunday Wilshin in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984
- Patricia Donahue in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984
- George Orwell: A Life, Bernard Crick, p.502
- George Orwell: A Life, Bernard Crick, p.504
- Jack Denny in Stephen Wadhams Remembering Orwell Penguin Books 1984
- Bob Edwards in Audrey Coppard and Bernard Crick Orwell Remembered 1984
- Jennie Lee in Peter Davison Complete Works XI 5
- Collected Essays Journalism and Letters Secker & Warburg 1968
- "George Orwell, Author, 46, Dead. British Writer, Acclaimed for His '1984' and 'Animal Farm,' is Victim of Tuberculosis. Two Novels Popular Here Distaste for Imperialism". New York Times. 22 January 1950, Sunday. "London, 21 January 1950. George Orwell, noted British novelist, died of tuberculosis in a hospital here today at the age of 46." </li>
- Bibliography of George Orwell
- Online Books
- Orwell at Wikiquote
- George Orwell - Penguin Books official website for George Orwell
- 'Collected Essays of George Orwell'
- Is Bad Writing Necessary? - An essay comparing Theodor Adorno and George Orwell's lives and writing styles. In Lingua Franca, (December/January 2000).
- Lesson plans for Orwell's works at Web English Teacher
- Orwell's Burma, an essay in Time
- Orwell's Century, Think Tank Transcript
- George Orwell in Lleida A photograph of a column of the POUM, including a man who appears to be Orwell, about 1936/37.
- George Orwell: A literary Trotskyist?
- George Orwell: International Socialist? by Peter Sedgwick
- George Orwell in the World of Science Fiction
- The George Orwell Web Source - Essays, novels, reviews and exclusive images of Orwell.
- George Orwell-Eric Arthur Blair- Orwell's books, As I Please columns, poems, essays, Orwell news feed.
- The Orwell Diaries: a daily extract from Orwell's diary from the same date seventy years before
- The Orwell Prize
- UK National Archives Reveal George Orwell watched by MI5
- wikilivres: Works by George Orwell (public domain in Canada)
- worldcat id =lccn-n79-58639
- Orwell's life on Jura