Tuesday, June 25, 2013

George Orwell was born - 1903

Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell was born on June 25, 1903 in India . He was brought to England when he was a year old. He attended a small school in Henley before attending Eton, where it is recorded that some of his teachers thoroughly disliked him because he had little time for those in authority. The reports of his achievements at school vary: some say that he was a poor student, other disagree with this. It was clear that Orwell would not be able to attend university due to the inability to pay the fees.

Orwell traveled back to India where he joined the police force in Burma. In 1927 he contracted Dengue fever: in light of this he was allowed to return to England. It was at this time that he resigned from the police force with the intention of focusing on writing. It was this time in Burma that provided the inspiration for Orwell’s first novel, Burmese Days, published in 1934. Orwell took a job as a teacher in England, after living in Paris for a short time. It was a small school and allowed Orwell to focus on his writing. He was contributing on a regular basis to the magazine New Adelphi, where his essay "A Hanging" first appeared. When the Spanish Civil war began, Orwell volunteered to fight for the republicans against the uprising. He was injured after being shot in the neck by a sniper's bullet; following this he and his new wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy, left Spain to return to England.

By 1944 what would become Animal Farm was ready to be published, but Orwell had difficulties finding the support for it as many felt it was an attack on the Soviets who were allies in the war. Animal Farm would finally be published in 1945 and was the work that propelled Orwell to new heights of fame. In March of 1945, his wife Eileen after having a hysterectomy and in the year following her death, Orwell wrote 130 articles and mixed journalism for numerous magazines and newspapers, as well as writing what would be his greatest work, 1984, published in 1949. Orwell became seriously ill around this time, suffering with tuberculosis. He had been courting Sonia Brownell and married her while in hospital in October 1949. By Christmas Orwell was very weak and on January 21, 1950, aged 46, he died from a burst artery in his lung.

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Literary Legends of the British Isles. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the folloiwng links:

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