I am reading Animal Farm by George Orwell as my first classic for the year. Luckily, the edition of Animal Farm that I have chosen has notes on the text in the front, so I have a lot of information on George Orwell already to answer the questions posed. I also utilised Wikipedia.
'George Orwell' is in fact the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, born in 1903 in India. His father was working in the civil service, and moved the family back to England in 1907. Eric won a place as a King's Scholar at Eton in 1917, where he remained until December 1921. He then joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma until 1927, when he contracted dengue fever and moved back to England. He lived for a time in England, then Paris, then back to London. He died aged 46, after various medical complications during his life.
Although best known in England for his journalism, essays, reviews and columns in newspapers and magazines, he also wrote the following novels and narrative documentaries:
- 1933 - Down and Out in Paris and London
- 1934 - Burmese Days
- 1935 - the Clergyman's Daughter
- 1936 - Keep the Aspidistra Flying
- 1937 - The Road to Wigan Pier
- 1938 - Road to Catalonia
- 1939 - Coming Up For Air
- 1945 - Animal Farm
- 1949 - Nineteen Eighty-Four
Eric liked to stir and provoke argument. He is widely remembered as being a socialist, but his political views actual swung a lot over his lifetime. He proclaimed himself an anarchist at one point. He was anti-Stalin, supported the war against Nazi Germany, opposed British imperialism, opposed the Anglo-Soviet alliance, and was highly critical of governments generally.
Apparently, the British intelligence group, MI5, monitored Eric for about 20 years for his "advanced Communist views".