Why George Orwell Became A Tramp

It was exactly 30 years ago that George Orwell set the opening of his novel 1984: ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ Most people know Orwell for this novel, and his satirical tale Animal Farm. Less well known is that he was one of the great empathic adventurers of the twentieth century. In the following short clip from my RSA Animate The Power of Outrospection, I describe how Orwell learned to step into other people’s shoes when he became a tramp on the streets of East London in the late 1920s. Orwell was one of the major inspirations for my new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution.

Here’s the one minute clip.

Roman Krznaric’s new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution is out now.

This entry was posted in empathy, ethics, history, literature, politics, travel. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Elliot
    Posted 24 April 2014 at 2.17pm | Permalink

    Jack London also became/lived as a tramp on the streets of London and wrote “People of the Abyss”, but he’s not generally identified with empathy…He died in 1916..

  2. Roman Krznaric
    Posted 24 April 2014 at 4.52pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment Jim. Jack London actually gets a brief mention in my book Empathy (though he was pretty rude about some of the inhabitants of the East End in People of the Abyss!). Beatrice Webb is another forgotten figure who went down and out on the streets of East London.

Leave a Reply

  • Welcome to OUTROSPECTION, my blog on empathy and the art of living. You'll find articles, interviews and news on the fundamental questions of how to live, with an emphasis on outrospection, which is about discovering who we are by stepping outside ourselves and exploring the lives of other people and cultures.


  • New Outrospection blog articles

  • Sign up to receive weekly email notification of new postings.

  • Upcoming events and talks

  • Topics

  • Archives

  • Meta