Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlighted, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
George Orwell, whose real name is Eric Arthur Blair, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and commitment to democratic socialism. Orwell was born on the 25th June, 1903 in Motihari, Bihar, in British India where he spent his first days. His mother brought him and his older sister, Marjorie, to England about a year after his birth and settled in Henley-on-Thames. Because his father stayed behind in India and rarely visited, George Orwell and his father never formed a strong bond. Orwell was later sent to a boarding school, which he hated and where he got his first taste of England's class system. On a partial scholarship, Orwell noticed that the school treated the richer students better than the poorer ones. He won scholarships to Wellington College and Eton College to continue his studies. Because his family couldn't pay for his university education,Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, then a British colony. He resigned in 1927 and decided to become a writer. Orwell is well-known for his literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He has gained world wide acknowledgement for his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945). His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Orwell's work has had a great impact on popular and political culture. The term Orwellian is an example of this influence. This term describes totalitarian or authoritarian social practices. It has entered the English language together with many other of his neologisms, including cold war, Big Brother, thought police, Room 101, doublethink, and thoughtcrime. Orwell was diagnosed as having tuberculosis in December 1947. Since then his health continued to decline and he died on the 21st of January, 1950