George Orwell Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1903 - 1950 *** Full Name: Eric Arthur Blair *** Nickname: He wrote under the pen name of George Orwell *** Occupation: British Novelist, Essayist, Critic and Journalist *** Date of Birth: George Orwell was born on June 25th 1903 *** Place of Birth: George Orwell was born in Motihari, Bengal Presidency in British India *** Family background: His father was Richard Walmesley Blair and he worked in the Indian Civil Service in the Opium Department and his mother was Ida Mabel Limouzin *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with two sister, Marjorie was five years older and Avril was five years younger. When he was a year old his mother took Marjorie and himself back to England where the family settled in Henley-on-Thames and where she would have Avril several years later. The family moved again shortly before World War I broke out to Shiplake *** Death: George Orwell died on January 21,1950***
George Orwell Fact 1: George Orwell was born on June 25th 1903 in British India during the 20th century period in history when there was much change across Europe and the world, the first and second French, Spanish, Chinese and Holy Roman Empires all collapsed and Europe would see two World Wars.
George Orwell Fact 2: George Orwell attended a convent school in Henley and he later attended St Cyprian’s School in Eastbourne. Once his formal education was complete he was matriculated into Eton as a King’s Scholar.
George Orwell Fact 3: With his parent’s unable to afford to send him to university it was decided that he would be suitable to become an Imperial Policeman the forerunner of the Indian Police Service but he would need to pass an entrance examination.
George Orwell Fact 4: George Orwell was then sent to a crammer school where one could study particular vigorously to pass a particular examination. This helped Orwell pass his entrance exam seventh in his class of twenty six that also passed the grade for an Imperial Policeman.
George Orwell Fact 5: As his grandmother was in Moulmein, he requesting a posting near her in Burma.
George Orwell Fact 6: While most of his friends back home were in University, Orwell would be placed in charge of the security of some two hundred thousand people when he was promoted to sub divisional officer in the Delta.
George Orwell Fact 7: In 1924 George Orwell would receive a further promotion to Assistant District Superintendent and assigned to Syriam near to Rangoon and in proximity to the Burmah Oil Company.
George Orwell Fact 8: By 1926 George Orwell had moved to Moulmein and later that same year he was sent to Upper Burma where he was struck down with dengue fever. He was due a term of leave to return to England and due to his illness he was allowed to leave in July.
George Orwell Fact 9: While recovering in Cornwall with his family on their annual holiday he decided not to return to Burma and resigned. He had decided to stay in England and become a writer but would heavily rely on his experiences in Burma in several of his works, short essays A Hanging (1931) and Shooting an Elephant (1936) and his novel Burmese Days (1934).
George Orwell Fact 10: Having been very aware of the poverty endemic in Burma, when he moved to London he again was struck by the poverty he saw when he took the time to actually look around, in particular the East End of London.
George Orwell Fact 11: In order to get a true feeling of what it was like to experience poverty he decided he had to live like one of the unfortunates and so he dressed like a tramp and went to live on the streets.
George Orwell Fact 12: In 1928 George Orwell moved to Paris where he became more of a journalist than a writer. He fell seriously ill while Paris as was rushed to a free hospital where he was treated but would result in an essay he titled “How the Poor Die”.
George Orwell Fact 13: In late 1929 he returned to England and his family home.
George Orwell Fact 14: Over the next several years he worked legitimately as a teacher as well as visiting London and adopting his other self, the tramp, P.S. Burton and going off into the poorer parts of London. He even tried to get himself arrested in attempt to spend Christmas in prison for the experience, after two days he was released and returned home.
George Orwell Fact 15: All the while he continued to write of his various experiences and would periodically attempt to get published, he would have more success with his magazine publications for the Adelphi than anything else.
George Orwell Fact 16: However in 1932 “A Scullion’s Diary” was published for a £40 advance by Victor Gollancz Ltd. George Orwell also had success in getting his book “Down and Out in Paris and London” published but decided because of his time living as a tramp he would use a pen name to save his family any embarrassment and decided on George Orwell.
George Orwell Fact 17: George Orwell continued to teach until his aunt in London had acquired him a position to work in book store for friends of hers. He moved to London where he carried on writing pieces for the Adelphi as well as getting his novels “A Clergyman’s Daughter” and “Burmese Days” ready for their publications.
George Orwell Fact 18: 1935 proved a very eventful year for Orwell as he not only had his novel “ A Clergyman’s Daughter” finally published but he would also meet Eileen O’Shaughnessy who would become his wife. He would also have “Burmese Days” published in June that year. George Orwell Fact 19: By late 1936 he was travelling to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War. For his trouble George Orwell received a bullet from a sniper through his throat for which he would recover.
George Orwell Fact 20: As World War II approached his wife Eileen began working for the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information but because of his damaged lungs Orwell was refused entry into the military but would be able to join the Home Guard. George Orwell also found work with the BBC’s Eastern Service.
George Orwell Fact 21: In 1941 George Orwell was struck down with bronchitis which he would be plagued with frequently. Around this time David Astor, who was editing The Observer, invited George to write for him.
George Orwell Fact 22: It was Astor that gave George Orwell his opportunity to do his part in the war when he offered him a position as a war correspondent but while he was on trip to France, his wife underwent surgery and died, completely unexpectedly. During this time his novel “Animal Farm” was published.
George Orwell Fact 23: After his brief return to England when Eileen died, George Orwell went back to France for short time before finally returning to England where he began work on Nineteen Eighty-Four which he would complete by 1948.
George Orwell Fact 24: His novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) was published in 1949 and was very well received both in popularity and critically.
George Orwell Fact 25: George Orwell died as a result of a burst artery in his lung on January 21,1950 aged forty six years. His body laid to rest in All Saint’s Churchyard in Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire.
Influence & Legacy of George Orwell: George Orwell was best known for his contributions to journalism but he would also leave a collection of novels that would make him a household name in the years that followed his death including, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier, Homage to Catalonia, Animal Farm and his most famous novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984).