Page 69 - Layout 1
P. 69

                   with the county’s much loved coastal resort? Ann Kronbergs finds out . . .
letters he wrote to her; they show how carefully he plotted meeting places on the margins of Southwold and routes for walks in woodland areas near Walberswick and Blythburgh calculated to lead to secret ‘plein air’ encounters in summer time.
There is a compelling case for Eleanor as the model for Julia in 1984. With Brenda, daughter of a Bedfordshire vicar, he maintained a more cerebral relationship and kept up a correspondence and contact with her throughout his life. Dorothy Hare, the central female character in A Clergyman’s Daughter, appears in some ways to be modelled on Brenda.
These relationships with younger women ultimately ended in disappointment: Eleanor married Dennis in January 1934, and Brenda remained coldly unattainable. However, in August 1930, Orwell had a chance encounter on Southwold beach with Mabel Fierz, an older, married woman who happened to
be on holiday with her husband, Francis. They lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb and were well connected in literary London. From this point, Mabel acted as Orwell’s London patron; she introduced him to the literary agent Leonard Moore and to important editors of literary magazines.
Whilst success did not come overnight, in 1932 Orwell agreed to an advance of £40 and signed his first book contract with Victor Gollancz for Down and Out in Paris and London. The decision to adopt the pseudonym of George Orwell was taken at this time, primarily as a way of sparing his parents’ embarrassment at the seediness and explicit content of the work for Down and Out.
In 1932 a family legacy enabled Orwell’s mother, Ida Blair, to purchase Montague House on the High Street, for a few hundred pounds. It was here in December that the advance copies of Down and Out in Paris and London were
sent. By the time he moved from Southwold to London in October 1934, not only had he published Down and Out, but also his first novel, Burmese Days, had been released in New York.
The manuscript of his second novel, A Clergyman’s Daughter, was now written and shortly to be published. So Southwold was where Eric Blair served his tough literary apprenticeship, and where as the writer, George Orwell, he witnessed the dawn of his literary reputation.
n From Tuesday 15th January to 12th February 2019, Ann Kronbergs, independent writer and researcher, will present a five-week course on George Orwell and Southwold: 1927-1934.
It will be held at Suffolk Record Office, 77 Raingate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 2AR
Fees for the 5-week course will be: £37.50 with enrolment: in branch or by telephone 01284 741212.

   67   68   69   70   71