✒ WWP — Week 2: Biography

In a time of universal deceit—telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

George Orwell (1903 – 1950) was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair. Born in Bengal, India, and raised in England, his early schooling began at St. Cyprian’s School, in Sussex, where he met Cyril Connolly, who later published many of Orwell’s essays. He was sent on scholarship to the exclusive boarding school, Eton, where Aldous Huxley was one of his teachers. Blair joined the Indian Imperial Police and served in Burma from 1922 to 1927. Returning west, he lived an impoverished life in Paris and London, making little money as a tutor and a bookshop assistant while he began writing. He fought and was wounded during the Spanish Civil War, and during World War II he found work as a war correspondent and editor, writing for the BBC, the Observer, and the Tribune. At the same time he continued to write books, all of which met with little success. As one biographer put it, “his first amateurish efforts arose smiles.”

Yet he kept writing, worked his professional connections, and concenrtrated on the political message. He abhorred both communism and imperialism. After the war, these two themes repeated in his best-received works, Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eight-Four (1949). During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism and essays. Unfortunately, he was able to enjoy fame from his novels only briefly: he died of tuberculosis in 1950.

One word for mastery: Consistency.


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