Eileen Maud Blair

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Eileen Maud Blair (O'Shaughnessy)

Birthdate: (39)
Birthplace: South Shields, Durham, England
Death: March 29, 1945 (39)
England (Died during routine surgery of complications with anesthesia.)
Place of Burial: Saint Andrew & Jesmond Cemetery, West Jesmond, Newcastle, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Lawrence O'Shaughnessy and Marie O'Shaughnessy
Wife of Eric Arthur Blair / a.k.a. George Orwell
Mother of <private> Blair
Sister of Lawrence O'Shaughnessy and Laurence Frederick O'Shaughnessy

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Eileen Maud Blair

Eileen O'Shaughnessy From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eileen Maud O'Shaughnessy (September 25, 1905 - March 29, 1945) was the first wife of British writer George Orwell.

O'Shaughnessy was born in South Shields, County Durham, in the north-east of England, the only daughter of Marie O'Shaughnessy and Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, who was a customs collector. She had an older brother, Lawrence. [1] It was through his marriage to Gwen Hunton that she and Orwell had access to Greystone, near Carlton, where they stayed in 1944/45. Greystone had recently been left vacant following the death of Gwen's maiden aunt, Mary Hunton.

She attended Sunderland Church High School. In the late 1920s she attended university at Oxford where she attained a degree in psychology.

O'Shaughnessy was also an amateur poet. She met Orwell in 1935 and married him the following year. Soon after their marriage she joined Orwell when he went to fight in the Spanish Civil War, returning the following year after he was wounded in the throat by a sniper.

In June of 1944 Orwell and O'Shaughnessy adopted a three-week old boy they named Richard Horatio Blair. She died in tragic circumstances in the spring of 1945 in Newcastle upon Tyne whilst undergoing routine surgery, her death being caused by the anaesthetic. She and Richard were living at Greystone at the time, with George working in London. She is buried in Saint Andrew's and Jesmond Cemetery, West Jesmond, Newcastle.

Influence on Orwell's writing

Some scholars believe that Eileen had a large influence on Orwell's writing. It is suggested that Orwell's classic novel 1984 may have been influenced by one of O'Shaughnessy's poems, End of the Century, 1984 [2], although this theory cannot be proven. The poem was written in 1934, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Sunderland Church High School, which she had attended, and to look ahead 50 years to the school's centenary in 1984. [3]

Although the poem was written a year before she met Orwell, there are striking similarities between the futuristic vision of O'Shaughnessy's poem and that of Orwell's 1984, including the use of mind control, and the eradication of personal freedom by a police state.

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Eileen Maud Blair's Timeline

September 25, 1905
South Shields, Durham, England
March 29, 1945
Age 39
Age 39
Saint Andrew & Jesmond Cemetery, West Jesmond, Newcastle, England