The concept of a totaliarian state, Big Brother, is a frightening reality in some parts of the world, and the man who famously brought the notion to public attention, with his iconic book 1984, was born on June 25th.
English author, Eric Arthur Blair may not seem familiar to you, as a name, but had this man lived, he would have been 108 years old, the genius author we all know as George Orwell. Educated at England’s famous Eton College, he saw service in Burma, with the Indian Imperial Police, between 1922 and1927.
Thereafter, he returned to Europe to write, which was his passion, at first . He living several years in poverty, which experiences led to the writing of his first book Down and Out in Paris and London. Orwell was always outspoken, in 1936 joining Republican forces fighting the Spanish Civil War.
Critical of Communism, considered himself a Socialist, Orwell was wounded, in the end fighting Communists, eventually fleeing the country in fear for his life, many Spanish Civil War related to in the Homage to Catalonia, the book he next produced. The totalitarian political regimes experiences in Orwell’s life had a profound influence on his writing .
This is best displayed in the two most iconic titles of his distinguished writing life, Animal Farm – read by every schoolchild since publication – and 1984, the prophetic and frightening tale of a ruthless state.
In the course of WWII, he composed weekly radio political commentaries, to, counter Japanese and German propaganda in India, the wartime work, many think, providing the inspiration for newspeak, Big Brother’s truth-denying language featured in 1984.
This iconic English author, throughout his life, expressed doubt about so-called official versions of history, especially allied accounts of events during WWII. Looking through his many books, the most influential by far on society was the menacing 1984, which may never have actually come to pass in the west, though certain Asian and Middle-Eastern countries are not THAT far way from it.
Orwell’s 1984 was the keenest and most penetrating work produced in the last century that reflected trends in national policy and world affairs that are relevant even today, and talking about these things without referring to his ideas would be akin to writing on biology without Darwin references, The great man died, unfortunately, in London at the early age of 47, from a neglected lung ailment, leaving behind him an unforgettable legacy that he himself would probably never have imagined. January 21st 1950 was a sad day indeed for the world of great literature. He is sorely missed.
All images used with permission