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About George Orwell the Essayist

His father was a minor British official in the Indian civil service; his mother, of French extraction, was the daughter of an unsuccessful teak merchant in Burma Myanmar. Orwell was thus brought up in an atmosphere of impoverished snobbery. After returning with his parents to England , he was sent in to a preparatory boarding school on the Sussex coast, where he was distinguished among the other boys by his poverty and his intellectual brilliance. He grew up a morose, withdrawn, eccentric boy, and he was later to tell of the miseries of those years in his posthumously published autobiographical essay , Such, Such Were the Joys Aldous Huxley was one of his masters, and it was at Eton that he published his first writing in college periodicals.

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Instead of matriculating at a university, Orwell decided to follow family tradition and, in , went to Burma as assistant district superintendent in the Indian Imperial Police. He served in a number of country stations and at first appeared to be a model imperial servant. Yet from boyhood he had wanted to become a writer, and when he realized how much against their will the Burmese were ruled by the British, he felt increasingly ashamed of his role as a colonial police officer. In Orwell, on leave to England, decided not to return to Burma, and on January 1, , he took the decisive step of resigning from the imperial police.

Already in the autumn of he had started on a course of action that was to shape his character as a writer. Having felt guilty that the barriers of race and caste had prevented his mingling with the Burmese, he thought he could expiate some of his guilt by immersing himself in the life of the poor and outcast people of Europe. Donning ragged clothes, he went into the East End of London to live in cheap lodging houses among labourers and beggars; he spent a period in the slums of Paris and worked as a dishwasher in French hotels and restaurants; he tramped the roads of England with professional vagrants and joined the people of the London slums in their annual exodus to work in the Kentish hopfields.

Those experiences gave Orwell the material for Down and Out in Paris and London , in which actual incidents are rearranged into something like fiction. The main character of Burmese Days is a minor administrator who seeks to escape from the dreary and narrow-minded chauvinism of his fellow British colonialists in Burma. His sympathies for the Burmese, however, end in an unforeseen personal tragedy. Nov 30, AM. By the way, The Raven is not a novel It seems the list is out of control for quite a long time.

Voted for The Trial by Kafka.

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Jan 31, AM. Your knowledge of literature is very limited. Marcel Proust is the greatest author of all time. If you really want to list the best novels of the 20th century, there is no logic in limiting authors to just one book on the list. But delete the books that were not first published in the 20th century. Add a reference: Book Author. Search for a book to add a reference. We take abuse seriously in our discussion boards. Only flag comments that clearly need our attention.

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Literature after 1945

Add books from: My Books or a Search. Friends Votes. How to Vote To vote on existing books from the list, beside each book there is a link vote for this book clicking it will add that book to your votes. Flag this list. Inappropriate The list including its title or description facilitates illegal activity, or contains hate speech or ad hominem attacks on a fellow Goodreads member or author. Spam or Self-Promotional The list is spam or self-promotional. Incorrect Book The list contains an incorrect book please specify the title of the book.

Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Rate this book Clear rating 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 3. Want to Read saving… Error rating book. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse 4. The Stranger by Albert Camus 3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 3.

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa 4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 3. Catch Catch, 1 by Joseph Heller 3. The Trial by Franz Kafka 3. Fahrenheit by Ray Bradbury 3. Animal Farm by George Orwell 3. The Catcher in the Rye by J. Salinger 3. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis 4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut 4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 4. Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre 3. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov 4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding 3.

Five Women by Robert Musil 3. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon 4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Blade Runner, 1 by Philip K. Dick 4. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges 4. Ulysses by James Joyce 3. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene 3. Tolkien 4. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene 3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson 3.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac 3. The Plague by Albert Camus 3. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham 4. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry 3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 3. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway 3. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry 4.

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene 3. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende 4. Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima 4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury 4. The Quiet American by Graham Greene 3. The Castle by Franz Kafka 3. Beloved by Toni Morrison 3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 3. Light in August by William Faulkner 3.

Early life

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 3. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace 4. The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka 4. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler 4. Underworld by Don DeLillo 3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry 4.

A Room with a View by E. Forster 3.

Gordon Bowker: Orwell’s Library

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe 4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 4. Jacques the Fatalist by Denis Diderot 3. Orlando by Virginia Woolf 3. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse 4. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 3.

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David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 3. On the Beach by Nevil Shute 3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 3. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides 3. The Lover by Marguerite Duras 3. Moravagine by Blaise Cendrars 3. White Noise by Don DeLillo 3. Disgrace by J. Coetzee 3. It is believed by some that he chose George by way of Saint George, among other things the patron saint of England. Orwell drew on his teaching experiences for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying Soon after completing his research for the book, Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy.

The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT the dominant force on the left in Catalonia , believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism- a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which backed by Soviet arms and aid argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists.

During his military service, Orwell was shot through the neck and was lucky to survive. His book Homage To Catalonia describes his experiences in Spain. To recuperate from his injuries, he spent six months in Morocco, described in his essay 'Marrakech". Back in Britain, Orwell supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly until he broke with it over its pacifism in and then mostly for Time and Tide. He joined the Home Guard soon after the war began and was later awarded the Defence medal.

He was well aware that he was shaping propaganda, and wrote that he felt like "an orange that's been trodden on by a very dirty boot. Orwell was on the staff until early , contributing a regular column titled "As I Please. The royalties from Animal Farm were to provide Orwell with a comfortable income for the first time in his adult life. While Animal Farm was at the printer, Orwell left Tribune to become briefly a war correspondent for Observer. Astor, who died in , is buried in the grave next to Orwell.

Twentieth Century: Major Writers and Works

Orwell returned from Europe in spring , shortly after his wife died during an operation they had recently adopted a baby boy, Richard Horatio Blair, who was born in May For the next three years Orwell mixed journalistic work, mainly for Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines, with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in He wrote much of the novel while living in a remote farmhouse on the island of Jura, off the coast of Scotland, to which he moved in despite increasingly bad health.

In , Orwell was approached by a friend, Celia Kirwan, who had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, which had been set up by the Labour government to publish pro-democratic and anti-communist propaganda. He gave her a list of 37 writers and artists he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. The list, not published until , consists mainly of journalists among them the editor of the New Statesman, Kingsley Martin but also includes the actors Michael Redgrave and Charlie Chaplin.

Orwell's motives for handing over the list are unclear, but the most likely explanation is the simplest: that he was helping out a friend in a cause, anti-Stalinism — that they both supported.

George Orwell - , Books & Quotes - Biography

There is no indication that Orwell ever abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted in his later writings, or that he believed the writers he named should be suppressed. Orwell's list was also accurate: the people on it had all, at one time or another, made pro-Soviet or pro-communist public pronouncements. In October , shortly before his death, he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell died in London at the age of 46 from tuberculosis, which he had probably contracted during the period described in Down and Out in Paris and London.

He was in and out of hospitals for the last three years of his life. Having requested burial in accordance with the Anglican rite, he was interred in All Saints' Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire with the simple epitaph: Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25th, , died January 21st, Orwell's adopted son, Richard Horatio Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father's death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father.

Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government, and had no interest in writing. Orwell's political views changed over time, but there can be no doubt that he was a man of the left throughout his life as a writer.