Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism.
Considered perhaps the 20th century’s best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.
Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian—descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices—has entered the vernacular with several of his neologisms, such as doublethink, thoughtcrime, and thought police.
On January 21, 1950, Orwell — aged 46 — died of pulmonary tuberculosis. He wanted to be buried “according to the rites of the Church of England”. As he did not belong to any parish, two of his friends arranged for a funeral at Christ Church which was near Regents Park. Malcolm Muggeridge recalled that the Vicar was “excessively parsonical”. The service by all accounts was a “melancholy” affair. Thanks to David Astor’s influence, Orwell was buried as he wished in a “country churchyard”, in an Oxfordshire village where the Astors had an estate. As Orwell requested he is buried under his own name “Eric Arthur Blair” in the Church Yard of The Church of All Saint’s in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire.
Directions to George Orwell’s grave
Posted on the bulletin board at the south door to the church are the directions to Orwell’s grave. You can tell they have been posted because of the confusion caused by Orwell having been the author’s pen name. His true name was Eric Arthur Blair, and that is the name he is buried under. He seems to have used both names interchangably, being known to some people primarily by one and to some by the other. He never legally changed his name, or seems to have any inclination to do so.
Video showing how to find George Orwells Grave:
Here is a close up of the headstone. The rose bush does tend to get in the way of the inscription, which reads:
ERIC ARTHUR BLAIR
BORN JUNE 25th 1903
DIED JANUARY 21st 1950
The Headstone is weathering, with streaks of lichen growing on it. It is holding up much better than other stones that are just a few years older; the lettering is still very sharp and the edges show little sign of wear.