Journalism took a heavy toll of Orwell in the first months of 1946. Despite this unremitting pressure, he produced a major sequence of articles on 'The Intellectual Revolt'. He wrote one of his finest short essays, 'Some Thoughts on the Common Toad'. He reviewed Zamyatin's We, wrote two radio plays for the BBC, The Voyage of the Beagle, and a version of 'Red Riding Hood' for Children's Hour, and a pamphlet for the British Council, British Cookery; these three are printed here for the first time. The complex history of 'How the Poor Die' is unravelled, as is the problem posed by his passports giving his date of birth incorrectly, something that would prove significant in the writing of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell renewed contact with Yvonne Davet; he corresponded with Ihor Szewczenko; he tried to get Victor Serge's memoirs published in English and, with Arthur Koestler, to expose Soviet responsibility for the massacre of the Poles by arranging for a translation of Joseph Czapski's Souvenirs de Starobielsk to be published. Despite all this, Orwell did get away to Jura with his son, Richard.
He was able to relax and even fish, as his Domestic Diary (published for the first time) shows; and he wrote fifty pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four. This volume includes Orwell's telling letter to Dwight Macdonald on the necessity for people to rid themselves of leaders of a violent revolution before they became entrenched (5 December 1946). This was what the animals of Animal Farm had failed to do.
Eric Arthur Blair - better known as George Orwell - was born on 25 June 1903 in Bengal. He was educated at Eton and then served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. He lived in Paris for two years, and then returned to England where he worked as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant. He fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War and was wounded in the throat. During the Second World War he served as Talks Producer for the Indian Service of the BBC and then joined Tribune as its literary editor. He died in London in January 1950.