Eric Arthur Blair, famous with his pen name George Orwell was born in Bengal, India in the year 1903. He was a prominent novelist, critic, occasional poet, essayist and journalist known for his works “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-four”. His father was a British civil servant with whom Blair couldn’t ever form any great association because there were less ‘father-son’ encounters between them until he retired in the year 1912. When Arthur was one year old, his mother took him to England and he received education in England. Due to financial issues he had to join India Imperial Police Force during the year 1922 and served for a span of five years in Burma. He resigned and took writing seriously, moved to Paris and wrote his first book, “Down and Out in Paris and London” and before its publication he took the name of George Orwell. Below are the 5 facts you should know about George Orwell, who was a master in dealing with heavy themes such as fascism, communism and imperialism.
- The pseudonym George Orwell was chosen by Eric Blair by short listing many names like H. Lewis Allways, Kenneth Miles, and P.S. Burton. However, he chose “George” after St. George and George V – king at the time. The “Orwell” was taken after the river present in Suffolk.
- Orwell was involved in the Spanish Civil war between 1936-1937 and he fought for the Republicans who were against the Nationalist forces of General Franco. Unfortunately, he got shot in the neck and he was afraid of losing his voice. However, it wasn’t the case and Orwell recovered as the bullet missed the main artery. With the injury Orwell sustained, he never again fought and concentrated on writing.
- As Orwell could no longer fight, he joined the BBC in the year 1941 voicing the broadcast of propaganda radio programs. He was not satisfied with the functioning of the BBC, which he compared to a hybrid of asylum and girls’ school. Therefore, Orwell quit his position in 1943 and joined as a literary editor for the “Tribune” newspaper.
- The novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” with a totalitarian setup consists of a room (Room 101) which contains the worst nightmares. Did you know that while Orwell was working at the BBC Broadcasting House, he worked in the room 101. It was no mere accident that Orwell used this in his novel, as he felt frustrated while working for the BBC.
- George Orwell had great interest in tea. His liking for tea can be seen in his guide published in the year 1946 in the “Evening Standard”. The guide was titled “A Nice cup of Tea” and it contained many tips about making the perfect tea. He even included some hilarious comments on not-so-preferable teas such as the army tea, which he felt tasted like “grease and whitewash”.
In 1947, Orwell was diagnosed with tuberculosis and ever since battled against tuberculosis. A bullet to his neck couldn’t kill him, but the disease killed him in 1950. However, a writing career of seventeen years ensured that George Orwell left a mark for himself in the history of literature.