In the late 1930s, Orwell described himself as "a revolutionary patriot".
Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950, at the age of forty-six. Three days before, he ended his last will - "...lastly, I direct that my body shall be buried (not cremated) according to the rites of the Church of England in the nearest convenient cemetery, and that there shall be placed over my grave a plain brown stone bearing the inscription, 'Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25th 1903, died...'" He was buried at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.
He was a close friend of David Astor, the owner and editor of The Observer newspaper. Astor died in 2001 and is buried in the grave next to Orwell.
Animal Farm was finished in 1944. Orwell intended it as an anti-Stalinist allegory, but it is now seen as anti-communist. The book was such a runaway success that it gave Orwell a good income for the first time in his life.
Between 1943 and 1945, he was the literary editor of Tribune, a left-wing weekly magazine, and also wrote a regular column for Tribune called As I Please.
In 1941, Orwell took a job as a writer and broadcaster for BBC Radio's Eastern Service, aimed at public opinion in British India and the Far East. His work was war propaganda, and he said he felt like "an orange that's been trodden on by a very dirty boot".
In 1939, George Orwell supported the British and French declaration of war against Germany. He was found to be unfit for military service, but he joined London's Home Guard and in 1945 was awarded the Defence Medal.
During the Spanish Civil War, Orwell was shot through the neck and nearly killed. His friends told him he was lucky to survive, but he commented "It would have been luckier not to be hit at all."
In 1936, Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, joining the militia of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). He narrowly escaped the communist suppression of POUM in 1937, which turned him into a life-long anti-Stalinist.
Between 1929 and 1932, Orwell spent much of his time living as a tramp, researching what became his first published book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933).
He had two sisters, called Marjorie and Avril.
Although born in British India, Orwell came to England at the age of one. He later went out to Burma to join the Indian Imperial Police.
George Orwell was an Old Etonian - that is, an old boy of Eton College, which is generally looked on as Britain's smartest and most exclusive school. However, he described his background as "lower-upper-middle class".
George Orwell: The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.
George Orwell: Political chaos is connected with the decay of language.
George Orwell: During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
George Orwell: If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell: As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.
George Orwell: It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.
George Orwell: Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.
George Orwell: No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.
George Orwell: When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
George Orwell: People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
George Orwell: A woman hates the sight of you if you've got no money. (from 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying')
George Orwell: Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.
George Orwell: Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.
George Orwell: Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.
George Orwell: At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves.
George Orwell: No bomb that ever burst shatters the crystal spirit.