George Orwell was born (as Eric Blair) in Motihari, India on June 25. 1903.
His parents, members of the Indian Civil Service, returned to England when he was very young. Orwell was then "viciously and successfully crammed for Eton at a Prep School" in Eastbourne (Crick 1982).
When he got to Eton itself though he rested his oards" and took a "teach me if you can" attitude. Lack of the requisite exam passes and his parent's lack of money meant that a University place was beyond his reach. He joined the Burma Imperial Police instead in 1922. He remained with them until 1928,
He then endured several years eking out a meagre existence trying to make it as a writer. Ironically though his time living a hand to mouth existence in Paris and his experiences tramping English lands and streets inspired his first successful work DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON which was published by Victor Gollancz in 1933.
Several novels then saw the light of day. There was his anti-imperialist offering BURMESE DAYS (1934). It was followed by A CLERGYMAN's DAUGHTER (1935) and KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING (1935) and COMING UP FOR AIR (1939).
He still had a flair for non-fiction. In 1937 Gollancz asked Orwell to go north and write about the unemployed. He memorably stayed in digs above a local tripe shop and penned THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER (1937).
He also went to Spain in 1936 and fought with the independent Marxist militia POUM. His HOMAGE TO CATALONIA (1938) articulated his distaste for Stalinism and is conviction that Communists had suppressed genuine revolution.
When the war came Orwell tried to enlist but his "lungs let him down." Orwell thought that the War Office discriminated against those who fought in Spain. He got a job at the BBC and then he was literary editor for TRIBUNE.
First published in 1941 was a memorable tract, THE LION AND THE UNICORN -subtitled "Socialism and the English Genius." In it he made the case for a left patriotism. He loved England but it was like a "family with the wrong members in control." It was "class ridden" and "ruled largely by the old and silly."
After the war,, in the emerging Cold War, his anti-Stalinism became more entrenched and was most manifest in ANIMAL FARM (1945). His final novel, 1984 -published in 1949- expressed fears of an intrusively bureaucratised state in the future.