This past Wednesday, many persons and groups around the world paid homage to George Orwell, the author who wrote such important works as "1984" and "Animal Farm." Born Eric Arthur Blair on June 25, 1903 in Bengal, Orwell (his pen name) was educated at Eton, and spent part of his youth in Burma. Orwell was best known for his distrust of authoritarianism and, though he had published several novels, leapt into the public eye with his 1945 work, "Animal Farm." The work was a satire of Stalinist communism, and contained such trenchant commentaries on its inherent paradoxes as: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." While Orwell's literary notoriety and merit remains largely secure today, his devotion to the causes he espoused came under question when it was revealed that he turned over a list of "crypto-communists and fellow travelers" to a British Foreign Office propaganda unit in 1949.
The first link leads to a recent piece about the legacy and life of Orwell, written by Glenn Frankel of the Washington Post's Foreign Service office. The second link will take visitors to a story from the _Guardian_ in which one of the supposed "crypto-communists" named by Orwell discusses the reasons Orwell may have created such a list. The third link leads to an online Globe and Mail article that talks about a speech given by Bill Gates recently where he notes that technology can "prevent the nightmare vision of George Orwell" from becoming a reality. The fourth link will take visitors to several video clips (and a printed transcript) in which Andrew Marr of the BBC interviews Christopher Hitchens (author of "Orwell's Victory") about what Orwell might think about the world today. The fifth link leads to a site that offers a number of sections devoted to the writings and musings of Orwell, including his famous essay, "A Nice Cup of Tea." The final link leads to a biographical essay about Orwell written by Sir Bernard Crick.
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