TEMPTED TO VISIT ORWELL
To Orwell Today,
Hello. I read one of your articles about George Orwell, the CANONBURY SQUARE one. I found it interesting, along with a few other articles I looked up on Orwell this morning.
There was a news story about the recent release of MI-5's surveillance of Orwell which led me to examine more about his life and writings. In fact it was a comment about raising his son in a bleak tenement that prompted my search of possible accounts of its continued existence.
I think that his house on Jura is still there. Were you tempted to visit that also?
Orwell's story is interesting because of the unfortunately prophetic aspects of his writing and the need for people, particularly younger Americans, to read his work and shake off the carefully engineered complacency that they wander in.
Thank you for letting me know you've discovered "Orwell Today" and are reading about my visit to Orwell's "bleak tenement" at Canonbury Square - flat 22B to be exact.
It was an amazing experience for me to be climbing those several flights of stairs which Winston used to "climb slowly, resting several times on the way" just as Orwell did in real life. See the CANONBURY SQUARE PHOTOS of the outside and inside of the flat.
Orwell's time in the Canonbury flat was one of the happiest in his life - and the saddest. It was there that he and his wife Eileen brought home their adopted son Richard and it was also there where he experienced financial success for the first time in his life - with the publication of ANIMAL FARM in 1945. But it was also there that he went home devastated and alone after Eileen's sudden death during a routine operation. And it is from people who visited and lived with him there - and who wrote about it and took photos - that we have such wonderful insights into his daily routine and personality. See also ORWELL'S PERSONA.
Yes, I was tempted -- and succumbed in August 2004 -- to visit Orwell's house on Jura and have written all about it and show the photos. See JOURNEY TO ORWELL'S JURA and VISITING ORWELL'S BARNHILL.
My HOMAGE TO ORWELL in 2003 and PILGRIMAGE TO ORWELL in 2004 are events in my life that I cherish and feel blessed by Orwell for the opportunity.
The reason I share those experiences with "Orwell Today" readers is because I know that most of the millions of fans he has around the world won't ever be able to make the trip, but would love to, and so in this way they can at least experience it second-hand - the second-best way to be there.
I agree with you entirely that there is "a need for people to read his work and shake off the carefully engineered complacency that they wander in."
It was for that very reason that I created "Orwell Today" as a way of helping spread his vital message to the world.
All the best,
PS - Yes, Orwell's all over the news today regarding that MI-5 report saying they had him under surveillance for years under pretext of investigating him for communist leanings. See ORWELL NOT A COMMIE, DUH
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