George Orwell Timeline by Steven Kreis

George Orwell, 1903-1950

From The History Guide by Dr. Steven Kreis

| Resources | Chronology | Select Bibliography |

Orwell hard at work in the winter of 1945

The writer at work. Orwell typing in his flat in Islington, winter 1945 (Vernon Richards)

George Orwell (The Chestnut Tree Cafe)
George Orwell
George Orwell (O. Dag)
George Orwell (Petri Liukkonen)
George Orwell (Spartacus entry)
George Orwell’s War-Time Diaries Online
The Orwell Reader (Norman Ershler)

An Orwell Chronology
1903 Eric Arthur Blair born at Motihari, Bengal, India, June 25th, son of Richard Walmesley Blair and Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin)
1904 Brought to England by his mother. Family settles in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
1908-1911 Educated at Sunnylands, an Anglican school, Eastbourne, Sussex
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 near Henley
1914 First work published: Awake Young Men of England (poem)
1915 Blair family moves back to Henley
1917 Spends Lent term at Wellington College
1917-1921 King’s Scholar, Eton College
1921 Parents 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
1928-1929 Lives in Paris, writing and later working as a dishwasher. Hospitalized with Pneumonia (February)
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 The Hanging) under his own name
1932-1933 Teaches at the Hawthorns, a small private school in Hayes, Middlesex
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, Middlesex. Hospitalized with pneumonia
1934 Gives up teaching. Spends ten months in Southwold. Burmese Days published in United States (October). Moves to Hampstead, London (November)
1934-1935 Works as part-time assistant in Booklover’s Corner, Hampstead. A Cleergyman’s Daughter published (March 1935). Burmese Days published in England (June 1935). Meets Eileen O’Shaughnessy, age 30
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. Attends ILP Summer School, Letchworth, Herts. (July). Leaves for Spain (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 40,000 copies
1938 In tuberculosis sanitorium, Kent. Homage to Catalonia published (April). Joins ILP (June). Goes to Morocco for his health (September)
1939 Returns to England (March). Coming Up for Air published (June). Death of father
1940 Inside the Whale published (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 (February)
1941-1943 Talks Producer, Empire Department, BBC, in charge of broadcasting to India and Southeast Asia. Death of mother
1943-1946 Literary Editor of Tribune
1944 Orwell and Eileen adopt a one-month old child, whom they name, Richard Horatio Blair
1945 War correspondent for The Observer in Paris and Cologne (March-May). Death of Eileen while under anesthetic for operation (March 29). Covers first post-war election campaign (June-July). Animal Farm published (August)
1946 Critical Essays published (February). Moves to Barnhill, Isle of Jura (May)
1947 Enters Hairmyres Hospital, near Glasgow, with tuberculosis of the left lung (Christmas Eve)
1948 Returns from hospital to Jura (July). Completes revision of Nineteen Eighty-Four by December
1949 Enters Cotswolds Sanitorium, Cranham, Gloucestershire (January). Nineteen Eighty-Four published (June). Over 400,000 copies sold in first year. Transferred from Cranham to University College Hospital, London (September). Marries Sonia Bronwell, an editorial assistant with Horizon, in hospital (October)
1950 Dies suddenly in University College Hospital, of a hemorrhaged lung (January 21). Buried in the churchyard of All Saints, Sutton Courtney, Berkshire

Select Bibliography: John Atkins, George Orwell (1955); Harold Bloom, ed., George Orwell (1987); P. Buitenhuis, and I. B. Nadel, George Orwell: A Reassessment (1988); B. Crick, George Orwell: A Life (1980); Roberta Kalechofsky, George Orwell (1973); David L. Kubal, Outside the Whale: George Orwell’s Art and Politics (1972); Robert A. Lee, Orwell’s Fiction (1969); Jeffrey Meyers, A Reader’s Guide to George Orwell (1977) and, as ed., George Orwell (1975); B. T. Oxley, George Orwell (1969); D. Patai, The Orwell Mystique: A Study in Male Ideology (1984); P. Reilly, George Orwell: The Age’s Adversary (1986); Michael Shelden, Orwell: The Authorized Biography (1991); P. Stansky, and W. Abrahams, The Unknown Orwell (1972) and The Transformation (1979); William Steinhoff, George Orwell and the Origins of 1984 (1975); Raymond Williams, ed., George Orwell: A Collection of Critical Essays (1974); George Woodcock, The Crystal Spirit (1966); Alex Zwerdling, Orwell and the Left (1974).

N.B. The George Orwell Archive is located at University College, London and “is the most comprehensive body of research material relating to the author George Orwell (Eric Blair) (1903-1950) anywhere. Manuscripts, notebooks and personalia of George Orwell were presented in 1960 on permanent loan by his widow on behalf of the George Orwell Archive Trust, supplemented by donations and purchases. The aim of the Trustees of the Archive was to make a research centre for Orwell studies, by bringing together all [Orwell’s] printed works, including newspaper items; private correspondence; other private papers in the possession of his widow; printed matter other than his own which will help later generations to understand the controversies in which he was involved; and tape recordings or written statements by all with first hand experience of him of any consequence.” (site description was taken from the Archive home page)

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[To learn more about 1984, follow the link above to Dr. Kreis’s History Guide.]


Dr. Steven Kreis is a professor of history and military studies. The material above is reprinted here for educational purposes, with the permission of the author who retains copyright to this work. Many thanks to Dr. Steven Kreis for graciously granting us permission to reproduce this resource, which originally appeared on his History Guide website.

More History Guide materials available from Excellence in Literature

More George Orwell Resources


When will you read George Orwell’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

E1.7 Focus text: Animal Farm; Honors text: 1984
1984 and Animal Farm by George OrwellThis volume contains both the focus text and the honors text.






9184 by George Orwell This volume contains just the honors text, 1984.

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