Born Eric Arthur Blair on the 25th of June, 1903, in eastern India, Orwell was educated in England and joined Eton school. After he had left schooling, Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma but resigned in 1927 in order to devote his time to writing.
However, after moving to Paris in 1928, he found that his middling success as a writer forced him into working tedious and unsatisfactory jobs, experiences that he used to found his first true book, ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’, which he had published in 1933. Following this was his first novel, ‘Burmese Days’, in 1934.
During this time, Orwell had begun to see himself as a socialist and he used his time writing an account on the poverty in miners in the north of England in order to inspire his next work ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ in 1937. In 1936, however, Orwell had travelled to Spain in order to fight for the republicans against the nationalists but he was forced to flee when communists, backed by the soviets, had been suppressing dissenters, making Orwell a strong and devout critic of Stalin.
By 1941, Orwell had found himself working for the BBC in the production of propaganda but in 1943 he became the editor of the Tribune, where he wrote articles and reviews mostly. It was in 1945 that we saw Orwell release ‘Animal Farm’, where we can truly see his anti-Stalinist view. Four years later, Orwell published ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. However, he could not entirely enjoy the rewards of his success or his hard work as he died of tuberculosis on the 21st of January, 1950.
George Orwell’s chilling fable of Soviet Russia’s brutal dictatorship, Animal Farm brings to life in lucid, uncomplicated language the disastrous project of Russian Communism. This Penguin Modern classics edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury. ‘All animals are equal – but some are more equal than others’ When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality.
But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another. ‘It is the history of a revolution that went wrong – and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine,’ wrote Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm in 1945.
Orwell wrote the novel at the end of 1943, but it almost remained unpublished; its savage attack on Stalin, at that time Britain’s ally, led to the book being refused by publisher after publisher. Orwell’s simple, tragic fable has since become a world-famous classic. If you enjoyed Animal Farm, you might like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. ‘It is the book for everyone and Everyman, its brightness undimmed after fifty years’ Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph Books of the Century