DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON
George Orwell, Introduction to La Vache enragée
La Vache enragée (Paris: Gallimard, 1935), pp. 7-9.
In his Introduction to the French edition of Down and Out in Paris and London Orwell confirms the authenticity of the book, which was questioned by some reviewers, and feels obliged to apologize for his grim portrayal of Paris and to reaffirm his love for the city.
My loyal translators have asked me to write a short preface for the French edition of this book. Since many French readers may wonder how I came to be in Paris at the time of the events that I relate, it will be best, I think, to begin with some biographical details.
I was born in 1903. In 1922 I set out for Burma, where I entered the Imperial Indian Police Force. It was a most unsuitable profession for me; so in the beginning of 1928, during my leave in England, I resigned in the hope of earning my living as a writer. I succeeded almost as well as most young people who take up a career of letters—that is to say, not at all. My first year of literary work paid me scarcely twenty pounds.
In the spring of 1928 I left for Paris in order to live cheaply while I wrote two novels—which, I regret to say, were never published—and also to learn French. One of my Paris friends found me a furnished room in a working-class quarter, which I have concisely described in the first chapter of this work and which every Parisian, however