Down and Out in Paris and London
This text is the outcome of years spent in Paris and months spent tramping south-east England. It depicts what life was like for a striving author who was struggling to write, painting a vivid picture of the life he led in the lower depths.
George Orwell’s vivid memoir of his time living among the desperately poor and destitute, Down and Out in Paris and London is a moving tour of the underworld of society.
‘You have talked so often of going to the dogs – and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them.’
Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties, it documents his ‘first contact with poverty’. Here, he painstakingly documents a world of unrelenting drudgery and squalor – sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses of last resort, working as a dishwasher in Paris’s vile ‘Hôtel X’, surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps, a star-gazing pavement artist and a starving Russian ex-army captain. Exposing a shocking, previously-hidden world to his readers, Orwell gave a human face to the statistics of poverty for the first time – and in doing so, found his voice as a writer.