eorge orwell (1903-1950)
Orwell was a writer of realistic novels on social themes, such as the condition of the working class in the first half of the twentieth century, and on political themes, such as the danger of totalitarianism , the exploitation of the masses, the lies of official information, the failure of revolutionary ideals. He always considered his work as a social and political instrument for the real comprehension of human society.
George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, who adopted the name , in 1933 , for the publication of his first book. After this date, he also used it in everyday life.
Orwell was born in Bengal, at that time one of the outposts of the British Empire; his father was an official in the Indian colonial administration .
In 1911 he was sent to a "preparatory school" in Britain . Since his parents could never have afforded to pay the fees at a public school, Orwell was expected to win one of the scholarships available to intellectually promising boys. He suffered greatly from a sense of anxiety over the expectations of his parents; he felt an outcast at the school, among boys from much wealthier families; he hated the narrow-minded snobbishness of the teachers among the boys.
He won scholarships which gave him the choice of going to either Winchester or Eton. He went to Eton, where, however , he was just as unhappy as before, for much the same reasons; but also began to develop his intellectual interests.
At the end of his schooldays , he refused to go on university and decided to go to Burma, as a superintendent in the Imperial Police (1922). Here, too, he continued to feel an outcast, unable to fit in with the other colonial administrators and conscious of the hostility of the Burmese over whom they ruled. He realized that the Empire was based on a false and inequitable concept, and this helped to develop his social and political opinions. He returned to England in 1927 and resigned from the Imperial Police.
He now set out to prepare himself for writing on social themes in a realistic way by living among the urban poor of Paris and London. He worked doing a number of casual jobs and slept in cheap working men's accommodation, slums, and public dormitories for the homeless. This gave him the material for his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London. By this time Orwell was acquainted with radical political theories: at first he embraced anarchism , but later moved closer to socialism.
In 1937 he went to Spain , partly to continue his journalistic work by sending reports on the political situation , and partly to fight in the ranks of the supporters of the left-wing Loyalists. In Barcelona he enlisted in an anarchist battalion, and took part in the defense of the city. This proved one of the decisive experiences in the formation of his political outlook. In the weeks that followed, he recovered that, although all the left-wing factions were supposed to be united, in fact there was a great deal of rivalry between them. The anarchist group to which he belonged was eventually attacked and suppressed by the larger Communist contingent, and many of the anarchist leaders were imprisoned. Meanwhile Orwell had been wounded and this led him to return to England. His experience in Spain made him acutely conscious of the treachery and opportunism that could destroy left-wing unity, and gave him a horror of the "Realpolitik" of both the extreme left and extreme right.
In England, Orwell returned to journalism and political studies. When the Second World War broke out, in 1939 , he applied for military service, but was rejected as physically unfit. He then worked for the BBC, and the Socialist newspaper "Tribune" . He wrote a great deal for the newspaper - articles , book reviews , essays - and at the same time he worked on one of his most important pieces of fiction, Animal Farm. His health was declining rapidly and his last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, was published in 1949, a few weeks before his death (January, 1950).