Andrea Cannella @ Altervista.org – Maturità 2008

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George Orwell: life and works

Eric Blair was an english journalist, political essayist and novelist who wrote under the pseudonym George Orwell.
He was born in Bengal, India, in 1903. He was sent to England for his education and from 1917 to 1921 he went to Eton where one of his teacher was Aldous Huxley. He was unfavourably impressed by the snobbish atmosphere and the class counsciousness reigning there, and this dislike often emerges in his books, particulary in tha autobiographical work “Such, Such Were the Joys”. He served with the Indian Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927, and this experience increasinghis hatred of class privilege and authority: Burmese Days (1934) reflects this feelings.
Then he returned to Europe (Paris) and spent a period of his life in absolute poverty (about 18 months).
When he left Paris for England, he continued to live in the same style and in 1933 wrote “Down and Out in Paris and London”. The book was well received by the critics, and on the wave of this success Orwell wrote another novel, “Clergyman’s Daughter” (1935), a failure. “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” came next and was based on autobiographical events. By this time Orwell’s financial position came good, so he could married with Eileen O’Shanghnessy in 1936. In his next book, “The Road to Wigan Pier” (1937) deals with the conditions of life in the poor areas of England.
Soon after the Spanish Civil War (1936), Orwell and his wife left for Barcelona to work as a journalist. Here he fought alongside the Repubblicans. “Homage to Catalonia” (1938) is the account of his experiences in Spain.
He spend the period preceding World War II in the country, with the exception of a trip to Morocco in the winter of 1938 for health reasons. In this period he produced an essay, “Marrakesh”, and “Coming Up for Air”. It contains several autobiographical events. “Outside the Whale” followed in 1940.
During World War II Orwell, who was not fit for military service, worked as a journalist for the BBC.
During the very last month of the war he was in France, Austria and German as a war correspondent for “The Observer”.
“Animal Farm” appeared in 1945 and made Orwell internationally famous. Then he continued to write: “Critical Essays”(1946), “Shooting an elephant”(1950) and articols for important papers.
In 1949, shortly before he died, he finished “Nineteen-Eighty-Four”.
Like Animal Farm it’s a social allegory and contains a vision of the world in the near future. It is a pessimistic vision and points out the consequences of a totalitarian form of government, where people lose humanity and personality.