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George Orwell Chronology
(1903 - 1950)


1903 Eric Arthur Blair born at Motihari, Bengal, India, (June 25th, son of Richard Walmesley Blair and Ida Mabel Blair - née Limouzin) an area in eastern India only about three hundred miles from Burma. Orwell had an older sister, Marjorie Frances, born in Gaya (Bengal) in 1898; and a younger sister Avril Nora born 1908, but he was never very close to them. Richard Blair was a sub-deputy agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.
1904 Brought to England by his mother. Family settles in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
1907 Richard Blair on three months' leave in England.
1908-1911 Attends a day-school at Sunnylands, Henley, an Anglican school run by nuns, Eastbourne, Sussex. Avril born 6 April 1908.
1911-1916 Boarder at St. Cyprian's preparatory school, Eastbourne, Sussex.
1912 Richard Blair, retired from India Civil Service, returns to England. Family moved to Shiplake, Oxfordshire (December); near Henley.
1914 First work published: Awake Young Men of England (poem) 2 Oct in Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard.
1915 Blair family moves back to Henley-on-Thames (autumn).
1917 Spends Lent term at Wellington College as a scholar.
1917-1921 King's Scholar, Eton College. Richard Blair commissioned as 2nd Lieut. posted to 51st (Ranchi) Indian Pioneer Co., Marseilles. Mrs. Blair let the Henley house and moved to Earl's Court, London, to work in the Ministry of Pensions.
1921 Commences his final term at Eton in September. The Blairs move to Southwold, Suffolk (December).
1922 Blair attends cramming establishment in Southwold (January-June), to prepare for India Office examinations.
1922-1927 Assistant Superintendent of Police, Indian Imperial Police, Burma. Resigns whilst on leave in England, Autumn 1927 and lives in Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London Autumn/Winter.
1928-1929 Lives in working class district of Paris, writing and later working as a dishwasher probably at the Crillon. Hospitalized with pneumonia at Hopital Cochin, Paris from 7-22 March 1929.
1930-1931 Goes tramping in London and Home Counties. Writes early version of Down and Out in Paris and London. Contributes essays to Adelphi (The Spike and A Hanging) under his own name Autumn of 1931 picks hops in Kent.
1932-1933 Teaches at the Hawthorns, a small private school in Hayes, Middlesex. Spring 1932 Leonard Moore becomes his literary agent.
1933 First book, Down and Out in Paris and London published by Victor Gollancz. Uses pseudonym "George Orwell" for the first time. Teaches at Frays College, Uxbridge, Middlesex. Hospitalized with pneumonia. Tells Leonard Moore that he does not care to send biographical details to Harpers in America.
1934 Gives up teaching. Spends ten months in Southwold. Burmese Days published in United States (October). Moves to Hampstead, London (November).
1934-1935 Takes a room at 3 Warwick Mansions, Pond Street, Hampstead, London from Oct 1934 - Jan 1936.Works as part-time assistant with Jon Kimche, in Booklover's Corner, 1 South End Road, Hampstead. A Clergyman's Daughter published (March 1935). Burmese Days published in England (June 1935). Moves to Kentish town, London in August 1935. Meets Eileen O'Shaughnessy, age 30 (who earns honours degree in English from Oxford, runs a typing agency, and then sells it to study psychology at University College London).
1936 In industrial Lancashire and Yorkshire, investigating working class life and unemployment at suggestion of Victor Gollancz (January-March). Moves to Wallington, Herts. (April). Keep the Aspidistra Flying published (June). Marries Eileen O'Shaughnessy (June 9). Attends ILP Summer School, Letchworth, Herts. (July). Leaves for Spain to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, visiting Henry Miller in Paris en route (December).
1937 In Spain (January-June). Corporal with Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista detachment of the Aragon front. Involved in street fighting in Barcelona between government and anarchist troops. Wounded in throat by sniper. Honorable discharge for medical reasons from P.O.U.M. militia. Evades arrest during anti-P.O.U.M. purge in Barcelona. The Road to Wigan Pier published (March). Left Book Club edition of 44,150 copies.
1938 In March he suffers tubercular haemorrhage in his lung and is hospitalized for six months, in tuberculosis sanitorium, Kent. Homage to Catalonia published (April). Joins ILP (June). Goes to Morocco for his health (September).
1939 Returns to England in March. Coming Up for Air published (June). Death of father. Finishes writing Charles Dickens in July.
1940 Inside the Whale published in March. Moves to London (May). Writes reviews for Time and Tide and Tribune. Joins Local Defense Volunteers (Home Guards).
1941 The Lion and the Unicorn published in February. Joins the BBC as talks producer and broadcaster to India in August. His colleagues include T. S. Eliot and William Empson. At this time he is also reviewing for Tribune, Time and Tide, and The Observer, Partisan Review, and the Manchester Evening News.
1941-1943 Talks Producer, Empire Department, BBC, in charge of broadcasting to India and Southeast Asia. Death of mother in March 1943. Orwell's 40th birthday in June 1943.
1943-1946 Literary Editor of Tribune. Also writes As I Please column for the paper.
1944 Orwell and Eileen adopt a one-month old child, whom they name, Richard Horatio Blair. In February the writing of Animal Farm is completed but no publisher will accept it because of the British Alliance with Stalin.
1945 War correspondent for The Observer in Paris and Cologne. Meets Hemingway in Paris (March-May). Death of Eileen in Newcastle; while under anaesthetic for operation (March 29).Orwell's wife died as the result of a minor operation. He attributed her death to lowered physical resistance due to the war; both she and Orwell had consistently given up a part of their wartime food rations to feed children, and consequently had impaired their health. Covers first post-war election campaign (June-July). Animal Farm published (August).
1946 Publishes Critical Essays in February. Leaves London for the isle of Jura in the Inner Hebrides with his son and a nurse to live in Barnhill, an abandoned farmhouse. Starts to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Increasingly ill.
1947 Final appearance of his "As I Please" column in Tribune in April. Enters Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, near Glasgow, with tuberculosis of the left lung (Christmas Eve).
1948 In July, returns to Jura. Has great difficulty in getting a typist and so types the book himself. Completes revision of Nineteen Eighty-Four by December. Tells Tosco Fyvel: "Everything is going well here except me".
1949 Enters sanatorium in Cranham, Gloucestershire in January. Negotiations for publishing Nineteen Eighty-Four. The Book-of-the-Month Club in the United States wants the book without the Newspeak appendix and Goldstein's essay-but Orwell refuses. Book-of-the-Month Club relents and accepts the entire book.

Secker & Warburg publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four on 8 June 1949. Published by Harcourt Brace in New York on 13 June. Instantaneous and outstanding success.

Admitted to University College Hospital (London) in September.

Marries Sonia Brownell on October 13th. Plans to go to Switzerland on discharge from hospital.

1950 Makes his will on January 18th. His wife Sonia and Richard Rees are named his literary executors.

Dies suddenly, aged 46, of pulmonary tuberculosis at University College Hospital on January 21st.

Following his instructions he is buried, not cremated, according to the rites of the Church of England at All Saints, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.