Orwell, George. (1903 - 1950).
L i f e
- born Eric Arthur Blair in India, educated due to a scholarship in a private boarding school in England
- suffered under a sense of guilt about British colonialism and a feeling he must make some kind of personal expiation for it
> accepted a pseudonym as a way of escaping from the class position in which his birth and education had placed him
> underwent an extremely difficult experience as a teacher in Paris and a tramp in England
- remained independent in political and social questions: scorned ideologies, never formally joined a political party x but: sympathized with the Left
W o r k
F i c t i o n
Down and Out in Paris and London (1933):
- an analysis of the narrowness and idiocies of the British
< based his own experience of ill-paid jobs and common lodging-houses
Burmese Days (1934):
- an anti-colonialist novel, based on his experience as an Imperial Police in Burma
The Road to Wigan Pier (1937):
< his experience of the unemployed in the north of England
- explores the untidy ugliness of industrialism, the urban life scarred by unemployment and poverty, and the contrasts between the classes
Homage to Catalonia (1938):
< his experience of the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side
- strongly criticises the Communist part in the Civil War
Animal Farm (1945):
- an animal fable speculating on how a perversion of socialism could develop
- satirises the manifest failure of Communist ideals in Russia
- uses the political corruptions and distortions of language
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949):
- a dystopia set in a totalitarian England where the government exploits the language of socialism to cover its own tyranny
- language as an instrument of oppression: controlled by the Ministry of Truth which transmits untruth into ‘Newspeak’
N o n - f i c t i o n :
“Looking Back on the Spanish War” (1943):
- analyses his political disillusionment in the Spanish Civil War
“Politics and the English Language” (1946):
- explores the decay of language, criticizes political language, and suggests ways to its improvement
(Orwell in 1933. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorEric Arthur Blair. Aka George Orwell. (1903 - 1950). British.
WorkNovelist. Essayist. Journalist. Author of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
GenresPolitical and social novel. Essay.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"The Spanish war and other events in 1936 - 37 turned the scale and 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."
From "Why I Write" (1946).