Eric Arthur Blair, or as we all have come to recognize him – Mr. George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic throughout the first half of the 20th century, best known for his remarkable novels Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm. Though his pen name originally appeared only when his first novel Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933, the name stuck, and Eric Arthur Blair soon saw his nom de plume become so closely attached to him that very few people other than relatives and his closest friends ever knew his name was not Orwell. He was a man of strong opinions, that’s for damn sure, whether that be examining totalitarian rule or his ongoing rampage against imperialism, and this opinions formed from a life well-travelled, two world wars, working abroad in Burma, and even going full method writer here and living amongst the poorest classes in Europe to understand the depths of how race and caste impact society. Many have called Mr. Orwell the conscience of a generation, but what was underneath the surface of George Orwell’s unique, dogmatic, and quirky exterior? He was a twice married man, a chronic smoker of cigarettes, a child whose first word was “beastly”, a man who both loved and loathed isolation, and seemed only to just be finding his voice when it was taken from him at the young age of 46 after years of suffering from tuberculosis. His works to this day have immense relevance in our current political and social climate, and that alone demonstrates the knowledge and aptitude brought to Orwell’s writing that went above and beyond so many others of the 20th century. So, who was Eric Arthur Blair, aka George Orwell, the man who made us all fearful of Big Brother or the pigs out in the barn? Let’s find out together on episode 20 of Legacy: the Artists Behind the Legends.

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