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Word Count: 850
George Orwell was the pseudonym of English author Eric Arthur Blair born in 1903 in Bengal where his father worked for the Opium Department of the Government of India His first book publication was Down and Out in Paris and London 1933 dealing with his experience of poverty and homelessness in those two cities which Orwell researched by living as an indigent for some months For the same publisher he produced The Road to Wigan Pier 1937 which was controversial for including Orwells trenchant criticism of Englands left-wing intelligentsia alongside a larger attack on the flaws of capitalism as exemplified in the wretched lives led by the working poor Orwell also wrote six fictional novels including Animal Farm 1945 and the chock-full-of-neologisms 1984 1949 as well as a number of essay collections and an account of his involvement in the Spanish Civil War Homage to Catalonia 1938 He died in 1950 after a long battle with tuberculosis The essay below was written as a preface to the first edition of Animal Farm but was not included in the published book and only discovered in the authors original typescript some years later It is now a favourite citation for critics of our supposedly free press as an illustration of how the media can work to suppress uncomfortable truths without this necessitating some vast conspiracy It is ironic that the particular example of self-censorship Orwell referred to in the essay was the refusal of the left-wing and liberal press of the time to publish criticism of the Soviet Union - not a major feature of Western media orthodoxy in later years Indeed the subsequent popularity of Animal Farm and 1984 had much to do with their usefulness in attacking the USSR and International Communism more usually of course these attacks were simply on anyone left-leaning or otherwise the attacker was anxious to demonise Even now Orwell is better know for these two books apparently intended as critiques
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