George Orwell (1903–1950)
Pen name of Eric Blair, English journalist, essayist, novelist, and social critic. Born in India and educated in England, Orwell was an officer in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma (1922–1927), an experience he later recounted in the novel Burmese Days (1934). In 1927 he went to Europe to pursue his career as a writer. His first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), depicts his years of poverty and struggle while working as a dishwasher and day laborer. Orwell’s experiences fighting in the Spanish Civil War are the subject of the memoir Homage to Catalonia (1938). Of his seven novels, the satiric Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), both indictments of totalitarianism, have become classics. Orwell, one of the most polished and respected stylists in the English language, published five collections of essays, including Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays (1950). See also george-orwell.org.