Published in 1933, Down and Out in Paris and London was Orwell’s first published full length work.
It starts with an account of Orwell’s time in Paris, where he worked as a plongeur at Hotel X, before moving onto London. Orwell recounts his London tramping exploits with a cast of colourful characters (notably Bozo on the Embankment), a mix of accommodation and comments on everything from diet (mainly bread and margarine) to language.
The Orwell Foundation is currently serializing Down and Out in Paris and London on its Substack ‘Orwell Daily‘. In 2018, the Foundation brought Down and Out to life in an immersive performance in London and Paris which asked searching questions about homelessness today.
- Read an introduction to the book by UCL Professor Emeritus John Sutherland, courtesy of the British Library