George Orwell

(1903 – 1950)

George OrwellBiographical Sketch

Eric Arthur Blair (Motihari, Bihar, India, June 25, 1903 – London, England, January 21, 1950), known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and commitment to democratic socialism.

Considered perhaps the 20th century’s best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. The latter is often thought to reflect degeneration in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism; the former, life under totalitarian rule. Nineteen Eighty-Four is often also compared to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; both are powerful dystopian novels warning of a future world where the state machine exerts complete control over social life. In 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 were honoured with the Prometheus Award for their contributions to dystopian literature. In 2011 Orwell received the award again for Animal Farm. – His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture, and has taken a prominent place in the school literature curriculum in England, with Animal Farm a regular examination topic at the end of secondary education (GCSE), and Nineteen Eighty-Four a topic for subsequent examinations below university level (A Levels). The term “Orwellian” – descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices – has entered the language together with several of his neologisms, including “Cold War,” “doublethink,” “thoughtcrime,” “Big Brother” and “thought police.”

Read more about George Orwell on Wikipedia.

 

Major Awards and Honors

Hugo Awards (World Science Fiction Society)
  • 1996: Retro Hugo – “Animal Farm” (1946)

 

Bibliography

Novels
  • 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)
  • The Complete Novels (2001)
Essays, Journalism, Correspondence, Memoirs
  • A Hanging (1931)
  • Down And Out In Paris And London (1933)
  • Bookshop Memories (1936)
  • Shooting an Elephant (1936)
  • The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)
  • Spilling the Spanish Beans (1937)
  • Homage To Catalonia (1938)
  • The Lion and the Unicorn (1941)
  • Why Socialists Don’t believe in Fun (1943)
  • Dickens,Dali & Others: Studies in Popular Culture (1944)
  • Notes on Nationalism (1945)
  • Politics and the English Language (1945)
  • Prevention of Literature (1946)
  • A Nice Cup of Tea (1946)
  • Some Thoughts on the Common Toad (1946)
  • James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution (1946)
  • Why I Write (1947)
  • Reflections on Gandhi (1949)
  • The Orwell Reader (1961)
  • A Collection of Essays (1970)
  • The Collected Essays Journalism & Letters of George Orwell
    • Vol. 1: An Age Like This 1920 – 1940 (1971)
    • Vol. 2: My Country Right or Left 1940 – 1943 (1970)
    • Vol. 3: As I Please, 1943 – 1945 (1970)
    • Vol. 4: In Front of Your Nose, 1945 – 1950 (1970)
  • Inside the Whale and Other Essays (1974)
  • Decline of the English Murder: And Other Essays (1975)
  • George Orwell Complete & Unabridged (1980)
  • Selected Works (1980)
  • Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays (1984)
  • Orwell: The Lost Writings (1985)
  • The War Broadcasts (1985)
  • The War Commentaries (1988)
  • Selected Prose (1991)
  • Selected Writings (1993)
  • The Sayings of George Orwell (1994)
  • The Complete Orwell:
    • Vols. 1 – 9: Fiction and longer nonfiction works.
    • Vol. 10: A Kind of Compulsion, 1903 – 1936 (1999)
    • Vol. 11: Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937 – 1939 (2002)
    • Vol. 12: A Patriot After All, 1940-1941 (1999)
    • Vol. 13: All Propaganda is Lies, 1941-1942 (2001)
    • Vol. 14: Keeping Our Little Corner Clean, 1942-1943 (2001)
    • Vol. 15: Two Wasted Years, 1943 (2001)
    • Vol. 16: I Have Tried to Tell the Truth, 1943-1944 (1999)
    • Vol. 17: I Belong to the Left, 1945 (1999)
    • Vol. 18: Smothered Under Journalism, 1946 (2001)
    • Vol. 19: It is What I Think, 1947-1948 (2002)
    • Vol. 20: Our Job is to Make Life Worth Living, 1949-1950 (2002)
  • Orwell in Spain (2001)
  • Orwell and Politics (2001)
  • Orwell and the Dispossessed (2001)
  • Inside the Whale and Other Essays (2001)
  • Essays (2002)
  • Selected Essays (2002)
Online editions of George Orwell’s works:

 

A Selection of Quotes

1984

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays

“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”

“If there really is such a thing as turning in one’s grave, Shakespeare must get a lot of exercise.”

Freedom of the Park (Tribune, December 7, 1945)

“If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”

Smothered Under Journalism: 1946

“Tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country.”

Find more quotes by George Orwell on Wikiquote and Goodreads.

 

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