Eric Arthur Blair better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism.
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him."
The collapse of Stalinism and Fordism, the end of the cold war, and the brutal <i> Gleichschaltung </i> being imposed on humanity by a now untrampeled capitalist world order underscore the need for a return to George Orwell's famous dystopian novel, <i> Nineteen Eighty-Four </i>.
"From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books."
During most of his professional life time Orwell was best known for his journalism, both in the British press and in books such as <i> Homage to Catalonia </i>, describing his activities during the Spanish Civil War, and <i> Down and Out in Paris and London </i> , describing a period of poverty in these cities.
Instead of accepting a scholarship to a university, Orwell decided to follow family tradition and, in 1922, went to Burma as assistant district superintendent in the Indian Imperial Police. He served in a number of country stations and at first appeared to be a model imperial servant. Yet from boyhood he had wanted to become a writer, and when he realized how much against their will the Burmese were ruled by the British, he felt increasingly ashamed of his role as a colonial police officer. Later he was to recount his experiences and his reactions to imperial rule in his novel Burmese Days and in two brilliant autobiographical sketches, “Shooting an Elephant” and “A Hanging,” classics of expository prose.
For two years, between 1941 and 1943, George Orwell - real name Eric Blair - was BBC staff member 9889, hired as a Talks Producer for the Eastern Service to write what was essentially propaganda for broadcast to India. From recruitment to resignation, this collection of documents reveals the high regard in which Orwell was held by his colleagues and superiors and his own uncompromising integrity and honesty.
Soon after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Orwell volunteered to fight for the Republicans against Franco's Nationalist uprising. As a sympathiser of the Independent Labour Party (of which he became a member in 1938), he joined the militia of its sister party in Spain, the non-Stalinist far-left POUM (Workers' Party of Marxist Unification), in which he fought as an infantryman.
"Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring."
His intellectual honesty motivated his biting satire of Communist ideology in <i> Animal Farm </i> (1945) - a masterpiece which was equaled by his novel <i> Nineteen Eighty-Four </i> (1949), a pessimistic satire about the threat of totalitarianism and the mechanistic society of the future.
Born Eric Arthur Blair, George Orwell created some of the sharpest satirical fiction of the 20th century with such works as <i> Animal Farm </i> and <i> Nineteen Eighty-Four </i>. He was a man of strong opinions who addressed some of the major political movements of his times, including imperialism, fascism and communism.