Orwell in Paris: François Villon

François Villon had, I suppose, as rough a time as any poet in our own day, and the literary man starving in a garret was one of the characteristic figures of the eighteenth century Orwell, Tribune, 8 September 1944 Three weeks after arriving in Paris, with the romantic goal of finding subjects and inspiration for […]

Orwell in Paris: le MonT-Parnasse

. “No issues of le MonT-Parnasse for 1928–30 have been traced, so it is not possible to tell whether that journal published anything of Orwell’s.”                                                              […]

Orwell in Paris: Under Surveillance

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) spied on George Orwell (aka Eric Blair) during 1929 when he lived in Paris. The report was written by an intelligence officer codenamed “V.V.” who had, like Blair, commenced his career in the Indian Imperial Police and was later to approve the recruitment of notorious double agent, Kim Philby. . […]

Orwell in Burma: The Two Erics*

Eric Frank Seeley (1902-1972) and Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950) first met at Eton College, then reconnected in Rangoon during the mid-1920s. This paper argues that a limited, problematic representation of Seeley and his ‘Indian lady’ in Orwell scholarship has resulted in significant contextual information being suppressed, overlooked or misunderstood. More detailed knowledge of Seeley’s life […]

Did Orwell Have Asperger’s?

Did Orwell have Asperger’s? The answer – in popular psychology books, newspaper articles, tweets and society journals – appears to be yes!  Or is this pseudo-scientific nonsense best not proliferated? The idea that Orwell had Asperger’s was first posited by Professor Michael Fitzgerald in his book, The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger’s Syndrome and The […]

Orwell’s Scottish Ancestry and Slavery*

How much did Orwell know about his Scottish ancestry? His well-known prejudice against the Scots conceivably emanated from the distaste he felt for the way wealth was accrued by his forebears. These progenitors, who owned plantations in Jamaica from 1699, had a much greater involvement with the institution of slavery than previously understood. It is […]

Orwell in Paris: War Correspondent*

Wearing the uniform of a British officer, George Orwell returned to Paris in February 1945 as a war correspondent for The Observer and Manchester Evening News. He had resigned as the literary editor at Tribune who promptly announced, “George Orwell has gone to France where he will stay for approximately two months”. He would end […]

Eric Blair in Katha

Assistant Superintendent of Police in the Indian Imperial Police Force, Eric Arthur Blair, was based in Upper Burma, at Katha, from 23 December 1926 until he departed the country in mid-July 1927. The remote town, that was home to approximately 3000 local residents, became the setting for his first novel, Burmese Days. George Stuart, who […]

2+2=

Which edition of George Orwell’s most famous novel is on your shelf and why does it matter? The first British and American editions of Orwell’s great satirical novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in June 1949, conclude with the protagonist, Winston Smith, intellectually and physically broken by an oppressive totalitarian regime. This is symbolised by the disturbing image of […]

Homage to Stansky and Abrahams: Orwell’s first biographers*

“I request that no memorial service be held for me after my death and that no biography of me shall be written.”  (Eric Blair, 18 January 1950) “Perhaps Orwell was right to resist the idea of a biography and one might regret helping to start the onslaught. But it was bound to happen.” (Peter Stansky, […]

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