Video appunto: Orwell, George - Life, first hand experiences and works

George Orwell


Born Eric Blair in India in 1903, Orwell was the son of a minor colonial official. He was educated first at the school of St. Cyprian's at Eton. Here he could not stand the lack of privacy, the humiliating punishments, the pressure to conform to the values of the English public school tradition(such as competition or the rigid adherence to discipline).
As a consequence he began to develop as independent-minded personality, indifference to accepted values and professed socialism and atheism. On leaving school he passed the India Office examinations for the Indian Imperial Police. However 5 years later he left it and decided not to return because he wanted to breast away from British Imperialism(he could stand the dominion over other men).

First hand experiences

Back in London, he started a social experiment: he spent short periods living in common lodging-houses, looking for the company of outcasts(down-and-outs) in order to directly experience poverty and learn about the institutions of those people.
Then he travel to Paris when he decided to publish his works with the pseudonym of George Orwell. He chose:
•the name George because it was English and so suggested plain speaking and common sense;
•the surname Orwell because it was the name of a river he liked.
After the publication of works and their travel in Spain, the Orwells adopted an infant child and called him Richard, but they died soon because of their poor health.


- "Down and Out in Paris and London"(1933) was the 1st non-fiction narrative about the description of his experience among the poor;
- "Burmese Days"(1934)a book about his colonial experience;
- "The Road to Wigan Pier"(1937)a report he was commissioned to investigate conditions among the miners, factory workers and unemployed;
- "Homage to Catalonia"(1938), a recall of his experience in Spain: in 1936 Orwell went to Catalonia with his wife to report on the Spanish Civil War. In Barcelona he joined the Workers's Party of Marxist Unification;
- when the II World War broke out, Orwell, in London, joined to the BBC(broadcasting cultural and political programmes to India). In 1943 he became literary editor of Tribune(socialist weekly);
- he also began writing "Animal Farm" published in 1945*;
- Orwell's last book, “1984” was his most original novel: it was published in 1949 and soon became a best-seller.

Social themes

Grateful to Dickens in the choice of social themes, Orwell expressed a vision of human fraternity and misery caused by poverty and deprivation. He insisted on tolerance, justice and decency in human relationships. On the other hand he was against the increasing artificiality of urban civilization and he helped his readers to recognize totalitarianism which violated any form of liberty.