We’ve divided our coverage of Orwell into these categories for ease of use
Orwell and His Times – Orwell and His Work – Orwell and Place – Miscellaneous – Reviews
We are happy to consider submissions of articles, or suggestions for articles, from our members. We are particularly interested in information and research, historical and/or contemporary, about the places that Orwell visited. We cannot pay for contributions but we hope that those with an interest can volunteer material that would help the site grow. Emails to editor [at] orwellsociety.com
Orwell is known worldwide for his satirical fable Animal Farm and for his dystopia Nineteen Eighty-Four, but there is much more to him than his two most famous books. He also wrote four other novels and three works of non‐fiction, as well as hundreds of essays and reviews on such varied subjects as saucy postcards, Rudyard Kipling, what it is like to witness a hanging, Salvador Dali, pacifism, ‘good bad’ books, Tolstoy, how to make tea, Charles Reade and boys’ weekly papers.
Scarcely a day goes by without the word ‘Orwellian’ being employed, whether to mean a chilling vision of political control or a perversion of language; and Orwell’s writings have become a touchstone for generations of journalists and novelists, as well as a pleasure and an education for readers everywhere. In a world where power is shifting under our feet, where the English language is being abused and perverted, where truth is still treated as subjective by those who wish to shape reality to their own ends – in this world we need Orwell’s clear‐sightedness and commonsense as much as ever.
Even in his own lifetime Orwell was being translated into other languages, and his penetrating clarity was being imported into cultures where it was even more valued than in wartime Britain. Today he has a worldwide following, from China to Peru, from the university library to the secondhand paperback shop. The Orwell Society aims to bring together all who admire his writings, whatever their politics and wherever they are.
Some introductory facts about George Orwell
George Orwell died in London on January 21st 1950. He was 46. He left behind a collection of work that has gained in recognition around the world ever since, and been translated into many languages.
Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm have together sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author.
Burmese Days (1934)
A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936)
Coming Up for Air (1939)
Animal Farm (1945)
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Down and Out in Paris and London (1933)
The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)
Homage to Catalonia (1938)
Some key dates in the life of Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 Jan 1950)
1903 Born in Motihari, Bengal, the son of Richard Walmesley Blair, who worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.
1904 Blair’s mother, Ida Blair (née Limouzin) settles at Henley-on-Thames, with Eric, his older sister Marjorie – his younger sister, Avril, is born in 1908.
1911-1916 Attends St Cyprian’s School, Eastbourne, East Sussex.
1912 Richard Blair retires from the Indian Civil Service and returns to England. Family moves to Shiplake.
1917-1921 Scholarship to Wellington School for a term – then takes up a place as a King’s Scholar at Eton.
1922 Joins the Indian Imperial Police in Burma.
1927 Resigns from the Indian Imperial Police, lives in London among the poor.
1928 Moves to Paris where again, he lives among the poor.
1929-1935 Based at his parents’ house in Southwold, Suffolk; teaches at Hawthorne High School for Boys in Hayes, West London and then Frays College, Uxbridge, West London. Toward the end of 1932 adopts the nom de plume George Orwell, ahead of the publication of Down and Out in Paris and London. Takes up job as a part-time assistant in “Booklover’s Corner”, a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead.
1935 Meets Eileen O’Shaughnessy.
1936 Orwell heads north to research living conditions; rents a cottage in Wallington, Hertfordshire; marries Eileen (9 June) – and at the end of the year goes to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side.
1937 Wounded on 20 May, escapes to England, writes Homage to Catalonia.
1938 Lives in Morocco. Writes Coming Up For Air.
1940 Joins the Home Guard.
1941 Joins the BBC’s Eastern Service where he acts as presenter, producer and writer.
1943 Resigns from the BBC, appointed literary editor at Tribune. Starts work onAnimal Farm.
1944 The Orwells adopt a child, named Richard Horatio Blair.
1945 Eileen dies under anaesthetic in hospital.
1946 Starts life on Isle of Jura – settling in a more permanent fashion in 1948.
1947 Tuberculosis diagnosed.
1948 Finishes Nineteen Eighty-Four, published the following year.
1949 Treated at a sanatorium in Gloucestershire; marries Sonia Brownell at University College Hospital, London on 13 October.
1950 Dies of pulmonary tuberculosis on 21 January, aged 46. Funeral at Christ Church, Albany Street, London, 26 January.