"Down and Out in Paris and London" was George Orwell' first full length work.
It has two parts and the theme is poverty in two capital cities.
The first part is an account of him living on the breadline in Paris and his experience of casual labour in restaurant kitchens.
Orwell had moved to Paris in the spring of 1928 and was living at Rue de Pot de Fer in the Latin Quarter. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald had lived there previously; it was also host to a large Russian émigré community.
The second part is a travelogue of life on the road in and around London from a tramp's perspective.
Orwell completed several drafts. In earlier drafts his experiences in London preceded the Parisian ones. And originally he wanted it to be published anonymously. In the end the publisher Victor Gollancz persuaded he, Eric Blair, to use the name George Orwell. It was Gollancz who came up with the eventual title.
There was also a debate as to whether the book was really a factual autobiography or part fiction. Orwell insisted that nearly all the incidents described actually happened. They had only been rearranged.
Reviews at the time of publication were generally favourable. JB Priestley described it as "uncommonly good reading." He added that it was a "valuable social document." Cyril Connolly however countered by saying that it was no more than "agreeable journalism."