Saturday, July 30, 2016

George Orwell, "Down and out in Paris and London"


Down and Out in Paris and London is by far my favorite George Orwell story.
 it his only work in the Picaro esq gerera, additionally,it is his first full-length work. Published in 1933. It is his personal account  in two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities. The first part is an account of living on the breadline in Paris and the experience of casual labour in restaurant kitchens. The second part is a travelogue of life on the road in and around London from the tramp's perspective, with descriptions of the types of hostel accommodation available and some of the characters to be found living on the margins.

After giving up his post as a policeman in Burma to become a writer, Orwell moved to rooms in Portobello Road, London at the end of 1927. While contributing to various journals, he undertook investigative tramping expeditions in and around London, collecting material for use in "The Spike", his first published essay, and for the latter half of Down and Out in Paris and London. In spring of 1928 he moved to Paris and lived at 6 Rue du Pot de Fer in the Latin Quarter, a bohemian quarter with a cosmopolitan flavour. American writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald had lived in the same area. Following the Russian Revolution there was a large Russian emigre community in Paris. Orwell's Aunt Nellie Limouzin also lived in Paris and gave him social and, when necessary, financial support. He led an active social life, worked on his novels and had several articles published in avant-garde journals.

Orwell fell seriously ill in March 1929 and shortly afterwards had money stolen from the lodging house. The thief was probably not the young Italian described in Down and Out. In a later account, he said the theft was the work of a young trollop that he had picked up and brought back with him; it has been submitted that "consideration for his parents' sensibilities would have required the suppression of this misadventure. Whoever reduced Orwell to destitution did him a good turn; his final ten weeks in Paris sowed the seed of his first published book."Whether through necessity or just to collect material, and probably both, he undertook casual work as a dishwasher in restaurants.

 In August 1929 he sent a copy of "The Spike" to the Adelphi magazine in London, and it was accepted for publication. Orwell left Paris in December 1929 and returned to England, going straight home to his parents' house in Southwold. Later he acted as a private tutor to a handicapped child there and also undertook further tramping expeditions, culminating in a stint working in the Kent hop fields in August and September 1931. After this adventure, he ended up in the Tooley Street kip, which he found so unpleasant that he wrote home for money and moved to more comfortable lodgings.

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