George Orwell Biography

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

The files include correspondence with those who knew or met George Orwell, including transcript copies of interviews and notes. Some of the files include copies of archive material held elsewhere, although this represents a very small amount. In some cases these copies of records have been annotated by Bernard Crick, and provide context to the correspondence in the files, so the decision has been taken to retain these copies.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1978 in a letter to Bernard de Jouvenal Bernard wrote:

I have become a very marginal political scientist indeed, since accepting the quite unsolicited invitation to write Orwell biography. His widow liked something I wrote about him, just a book review, calling him a “giant with warts” and a “non-theoretical Hobbes”, and she said “That is the man. Who is he?”.

The biography took the best part of 10 years to complete, and was first published in hardback by Martin Secker and Warburg Ltd in 1980. Bernard used the George Orwell archive at University College London, and deposited original material that he was given by others. He later established a trust with the British hardback royalties.

Arrangement

CRCK 6/1 Research interviews and correspondence: persons

CRCK 6/2 Research interviews and correspondence: periods and chapters

CRCK 6/3: Research notes, papers, articles and ephemera

CRCK 6/4: Publicity, launch, reviews and editions.

Location of Originals

Researchers should note that the George Orwell archive is at University College, London.