George Orwell: biography, life, books, death and 1984

George Orwell: a brief biography

When was he born?

Eric Arthur Blair was born in Motihari, in the northeast of India, on June 25, 1903, and grew up in England.


After graduating from Eton College, he spent five years in the Imperial Police in Burma (now Myanmar), which left him with a strong sense of political outrage and personal guilt.


Career wise, George Orwell drifted between journalism, vagrancy and odd jobs, which inspired his first book Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), published under the pseudonym of George Orwell. During the 1930s he published four novels and two other non-fiction works. The Wigan Pier Route (1937) examined working-class life in the north of England, while Tribute to Catalonia (1938) described his experiences in the Spanish Civil War.

Animal Farm and 1984

Classified as unfit for military service during World War II, Orwell worked for the BBC’s Indian section for two years. On leaving the BBC in 1943, he joined the leftist magazine Grandstandwrote farm animal (1945) and adopted a son, Richard Blair. In 1945, while Orwell was working as a war reporter in Europe, his wife Eileen died suddenly. The following year, Orwell moved to the Jura in the Inner Hebrides and began to write One thousand nine hundred and eighty four. Delayed due to Orwell’s journalism commitments and hospitalization for tuberculosis, the book was published on June 8, 1949. This dystopian novel is set in a year (which may or may not be 1984) in what was then the future at Airstrip One (Great Britain), is now part of Oceania, one of the three warring superstates. The ruling Totalitarian Party – whose leader, Big Brother, is at the center of a powerful personality cult, though he may not exist – exercises total control over actions and thoughts, constantly monitoring the people of Oceania and rewriting history to meet current political demands.

Marriage and death

Orwell married Sonia Brownell in October 1949 in London Hospital, where he died on January 21, 1950.

Colin L. Johnson