Health & Medical Self-Improvement

The Story of George Orwell - A Writer With an Unclear View

In 1927, Eric Blair quit his job as a policeman to pursue a career as a freelance writer. He moved to Paris for a year, but was forced to return to England when he became ill and ran out of money. In 1930, he completed his first novel, A Scullion's Diary, and immediately submitted it to a publisher. While the publisher found it interesting, they also deemed it "too short and fragmented." Blair revised it, but the first publisher again rejected it, as did another publisher. Thoroughly dejected, Blair all but abandoned the manuscript and took a job teaching.

This might have been the end of the story had it not been for a Blair's friend, who brought the manuscript to the attention of Victor Gollancz who agreed to publish it. Blair had one request: He wanted the book published under a pseudonym. Rather than choose one himself, he offered Gollancz four possibilities and asked him to choose one. Gollancz picked George Orwell. On January 9, 1933, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell was released. The first printing sold out immediately and was soon followed by second and third printings. Blair released a new novel each year for the next six years before taking a break from novel writing to work for BBC. In 1943, shortly after his mother died, he left the BBC to become the literary editor of the Tribune. While there, he wrote another novel, a satire that he finished in early 1944.

Although he had proven himself as both a writer and a novelist, Blair - under the name Orwell - again had difficulty finding a publisher. Over the next year, numerous publishers in England and the United State rejected his manuscript. Most rejected the novel on political grounds. T.S. Elliot, then an editor for Faber and Faber, commented that the book did not present "the right point of view from which to criticize the political situation at the present time." Another editor stated, "I think the choice of pigs as the ruling caste will no doubt give offence to many people, and particularly to anyone who is a bit touchy, as undoubtedly the Russians are." The Dial Press rejected the novel because editors there thought that "there [was] not much demand for animal stories in the U.S.A."

Finally, in August 1945, Animal Farm was released. Although it was not enormously successful until after Orwell's death, the book was since become one of his most famous works. Orwell is also famous for Nineteen Eighty-Four, written shortly after Animal Farm - which introduced a number of new terms: "big brother," "thought police," "doublethink," and even the abbreviation of love as "luv." The novel made Orwell a familiar name and led to the use of the term "Orwellian" to describe actions of a totalitarian society such as those depicted in his novels.


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