Eric Arthur Blair was born on June 25, 1903 – 21 January 1950, known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English essayist, journalist and critic. His work is characterized by lucid prose, biting social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.
As a writer, Orwell produced literary criticism and poetry, fiction and polemical journalism; and is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working-class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences soldiering for the Republican faction of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), are as critically respected as his essays on politics and literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked George Orwell second among "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
His great-grandfather, Charles Blair, was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica. His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman. Eric Blair described his family as "lower-upper-middle class". His father, Richard Walmsley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limousine), grew up in Moulmein, Burma, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures. Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older; and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and Marjorie to England.
During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism, in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage: Down and Out in Paris and London (describing a period of poverty in these cities), The Road to Wigan Pier (describing the living conditions of the poor in northern England, and class division generally) and Homage to Catalonia. According to Irving Howe, Orwell was "the best English essayist since Hazlitt, perhaps since Dr Johnson."
Bodycam and Blair lost touch shortly after he went to Burma and she became unsympathetic towards him. She wrote that it was because of the letters he wrote complaining about his life, but an addendum to Eric & Us by Venables reveals that he may have lost her sympathy through an incident which was, at best, a clumsy attempt at seduction.