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George Orwell


Course Information

UOK Tonbridge

Study Morning

Study morning                                     10am – 1pm

Saturday 2 December                  

This study morning is in association with Medway U3A and will be held at the University of Kent Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime




Course Code


Course Date

2nd December 2017

Places Available

Course Leader

Sarah Anthony MA

Course Fee

Course Description

This three-hour lecture looks at the life and works of George Orwell, considering his place in the cultural and political debates of the 1930s and 40s and his continuing relevance today.


Born in British India, the son of a worker in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service, Eric Blair was educated in England before beginning his career in the Imperial Police force in Burma – an experience which inspired his first novel, Burmese Days, and essays such as A Hanging and Shooting an Elephant. Blair was, however, far from being a typical servant of Empire. In later years he wrote that he felt guilty about this role and that as he "began to look more closely at his own country [he] saw that England also had its oppressed" – a realisation that led him to life on the streets, and set him on The Road to Wigan Pier.


Orwell, we will see, is a writer whose work is inseparable from his politics. His experiences in the Spanish Civil War, as depicted in Homage to Catalonia, were instrumental in challenging his socialist idealism and resulted in a pervasive mistrust of communism as exemplified in Stalin's Russia. It was, indirectly at least, these experiences which led him to write his most famous works, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.


This three-hour lecture traces Orwell's development as a writer, both in the context of the cultural and political environment of the 1930s and 40s, and in the light of his continuing popularity and relevance to today's global climate.


About the tutor

Sarah Anthony studied for her Masters degree with the Open University,   specialising in postcolonial nineteenth century literature. For the last 12 years she has taught undergraduate students and adult learners in courses ranging from Shakespeare to the postmodern. She currently teaches for the University of Kent and the WEA.


For any queries, please email tonbridgeadmin@kent.ac.uk

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