Down and Out in Paris and London
To be poor and destitute in 1920s Paris and London was to experience life at its lowest ebb. George Orwell, penniless and with nowhere to go, found himself experiencing just this as he wandered the streets of both capitals in search of a job. By day, he tramped the streets, often passing time with 'screevers' or street artists, drunks and other hobos. At night, he stood in line for a bed in a 'spike' or doss house, where a cup of sugary tea, a hunk of stale bread and a blanket were the only sustenance and comfort on offer. "Down and Out in Paris and London" is George Orwell's haunting account of the streets and those who have no choice but to live on them.
George Orwell, real name Eric Blair, was born in 1903 in Bengal but was educated at Eton. He served with the Indian Imperial Police, and later came to Europe, doing a series of ill-paid jobs which led to his writing Down and Out in London and Paris. He fought in the Spanish Civl War, but in later years became disillusioned with the aims of Communism, which lead to the writing of his two magnificent political satires, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. He died in 1950.