Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Down and Out in Paris and London” as Want to Read:
Down and Out in Paris and London
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Down and Out in Paris and London

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  28,494 ratings  ·  1,806 reviews
This unusual fictional account - in good part autobiographical - narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. The Parisian episode is fascinating for its expose of the kitchens of posh French restaurants, where the narrator works at the bottom of the culinary echelon as dishwasher, ...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published March 15th 1972 by Mariner Books (first published May 14th 1904)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Down and Out in Paris and London, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Harry I loved it. It offered insight into why Orwell thought as he did. …moreI loved it. It offered insight into why Orwell thought as he did. (less)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Best Books of the 20th Century
386th out of 6,147 books — 41,368 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Best Books of the Decade: 1930s
26th out of 380 books — 588 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Do not read this book if you are unemployed.

Do not read this book if you are homeless.

Do not read this book if you are worried about the tanking economy.

Do not read this book if you have no retirement savings.

Do not read this book if you don't like eating stale bread and margarine.

Do not read this book if you like eating in restaurants.

Do not read this book if you are sensitive to foul odors.

Do not read this book if you are one of those people who carries a hand-sanitizer at all times.

Do not rea

this book isn't going to cause anyone to have the huge revelation that "poverty is hard!" or anything, because - duh - but it also doesn't piss me off the way morgan spurlock pisses me off, because orwell makes his story come alive and there is so much local color, so many individual life stories in here that this book, despite being horribly depressing, is also full of the resourcefulness of man and the resilience of people that have been left by the wayside. it is triumphant, not manipulative.
Jeffrey Keeten
“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.”

 photo george_orwell_zps86a90dae.jpg

In 1927 Eric Arthur Blair A.K.A. George Orwell gives up his job as a policeman in Burma and moves back to his lodgings on Portobello Road in London with the intention of being a writer. Like with many artists, writers, and those that wished t
Jul 24, 2013 Rowena rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Do not read this book while eating! I've been told that this book is semi-autobiographical. If so, George Orwell had an even more interesting life than I'd imagined! This book was disturbing, insightful and also funny (great, great characters, some just plain weird!)

The first half of the book depicts the main character's experiences living in poverty in Paris.Some of the descriptions about the living and working conditions are quite gruesome. All those bugs! Orwell sheds more light on what it mu
The film Midnight in Paris begins with some beautiful scenes of Paris: the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Seine, the Sorbonne, the Eiffle Tower, the arc de triomphe. And before long, arrives a parade of artistes from the 1920s milieu - Hemmingway, Bunuel, Dali, etc, - all speaking *SparkNotes*. But in the distant background (very distant) I hear a faint sound of et in arcadia ego and Orwell protests “say, I was there in the 1920s too - I saw all that. And I wrote a damn fine book about it”.

That bo
Grace Tjan
Jul 01, 2010 Grace Tjan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Orwell fans, anyone interested in the bumming life
Recommended to Grace by: Rauf
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. There is hardly such a thing as a French waiter in Paris: the waiters are all Italian and German. They just pretend to be French to be able to affect that certain hauteur and charge you exorbitant prices for that mediocre Boeuf Bourgignon.

2. Some of them are spies. Waitering is a common profession for a spy to adopt. It is also a popular profession among AWOL ex-soldiers and wannabe snobs.

3. Real scullery maids do “curse like a scullion”
George Orwell is a damn good writer. Sure, he whipped out 1984 and Animal Farm, but it's from his essays and nonfiction that I'm learning Orwellian tricks--and by that I mean, the very best sort of craft points.

Yes, I know that his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) is characterized as a novel--usually with some qualifier like "semi-autobiographical" or "thinly-veiled." But given that Orwell saves several chapters for his personal commentary about, among others, the life of a Pa
Poverty is no a sin. Honest work is nothing to be ashamed of . Obviously.
Let’s agree to disagree - Orwell seems to say.
In this part-autobiographical story he depicts how life looked like in Parisian slums and London poorhouses in late twenties XX century. In Paris Orwell used to live in rented rooms,dirty and buggy hovels,for over one year.He had earned some money giving English lessons and writing to the local newspapers but when the money had run out he needed to find a work.Then he first exp
ياإلهي أي نوعية من البشر تسطيع أن تكتب عن البؤس بهذه الخفة ؟ رأسي كان يركض في كل الإتجاهات دماغي تحول إلى فرن .

حسنًا لم أفكر بهذه الرواية أبدًا , ولم تكن في هاجسي .
حينما كتب فيصل الرويس " أعرف واحد:أول رواية نصح زوجته بقرأتها كانت "متشرداً في باريس ولندن" لجورج أورويل . وبعد تسع سنوات مازال يشعر بالندم على ذلك. :) "
لم أطق أن أنتظر أكثر لأعرف مالذي يدفع رجلًا بأن يندم تسع سنوات لأنه فقط نصح زوجته برواية ؟

لك أن تهديه لصاحبك الذي ضجرت منه لأنه لايكف عن المفاخرة في المطاعم الفاخرة التي يقصدها . ولي
Jul 16, 2013 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle

How many novelists have had their name turned into an adjective? Although there may be more, at the moment I can only think of three: Proust, Dickens and Orwell. The adjective “Orwellian”, of course, refers to the kind of totalitarian state Orwell depicted so brilliantly in 1984. Maybe there should also be an adjective to refer to the kind of poverty Orwell described equally brilliantly in this, his first published novel. In writing it, Orwell drew on his experiences working as a dishwasher in a
Laala Alghata
“The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.” — George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

I am a staunch George Orwell fan. I think he’s absolutely amazing and if you’re limiting yourself to his classic novels (Animal Farm, 1984), you are doing yourself a disservice. His essays and non-fiction books are amongst his best works.

Down and Out is Orwell’s account of the

First published in 1933, this was George Orwell’s first full length book which made it into print. Although it reads as though the events within it were concurrent, in fact much of the latter part of the book was published as an essay, titled, “The Spike,” while the author was in Paris. However, the fact that events do not necessarily follow the narrative, certainly does not invalidate the book, or the points that Orwell makes – sadly still very valid today.

The first half of the book sees Orwell
Orwell's first published work, giving a slightly fictionalised account of his experiences of poverty in Paris and London.

His time in London is made into an extraordinary and vital social document, preserving and bearing witness to the painful and shocking history of the tramps. I never realised that these men and women were so called because they were forced by the law that prevented them from staying in one place for more than one night to walk from town to town every day, with the reward of a
Throughout 2012 I've been working my way through George Orwell's books, before coming to 'Down and Out in Paris and London' I've read 'Burmese Days', 'The Clergyman's Daughter', 'Coming Up For Air', 'Keep The Aspidistra Flying', and 'The Road To Wigan Pier'. In years gone by I've also read 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', 'Animal Farm' and 'Homage to Catalonia'. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that he's one of my favourite writers. In his essay Politics and the English Language (1946), Orwell wrote ...more
Bill  Kerwin

As anyone who has read "1984" can attest, Orwell is--among other things--a master of disgust, a writer who can describe a squalid apartment building, an aging painted whore or a drunken old man with just the right details to make the reader's nose twitch with displeasure, his stomach rise into the throat with revulsion. What makes this book so good is that--although he may continually evoke this reaction in his account of the working and the wandering poor--Orwell never demeans or dismisses the
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 28, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Memoir)
Shelves: 501, memoirs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Much like Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, Orwell's heavily autobiographical journalistic novel makes me vaguely uncomfortable—I just can never quite bring myself to fully embrace depictions of "playing poverty" by young white men from bourgeois (or better) backgrounds. Granted, the comparison is a bit unfair, as Hemingway was clearly indulging in a project of retroactive self-mythification and intentionally fudging details while Orwell was attempting something akin to a social exposé, using his ex ...more
I've loved everything I've ever read by Orwell, including this book which is very autobiographical "fiction", written in the first person as I recall. The temporal setting of the "novel" is sometime in the 1920s I think. This is actually not a bad book to sample Orwell with, of course nowhere near as famous as Animal Farm or 1984, but it reads much like a memoir (a very interesting one) and hence can be experienced as a sample of Orwell's writing style and views on society, without those things ...more
3.5/5. More than a touch didactic, Orwell to both move the reader as well as reveal about the working poor, the homeless and his own prejudices. Sociological, his work remains timeless, a portrait of dark corners. What effected me most was not the images of hunger or humiliation, but the descriptions of the numbing tether of protracted work. It begged consideration of my own work. I'll leave the associations there.

Down and Out in Paris and London runs most effectively when it offers a personal s
Arman Azadniya
Jun 01, 2015 Arman Azadniya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: اقشار مختلف جامه
(پی نوشت بی ربط به کتاب)

از وقتی که عضو این سایت شدم همیشه با این دوراهی مواجه بوده ـم که باید به چه زبانی ریویو بنویسم؛ انگلیسی یا فارسی.خیلی تصمیم سختی بوده و هنوزم هست.نوشتن ریویو به انگلیسی شما را پرت میکنه به دنیایی خیلی بزرگتر و این احساس لذت بخش "عضوی از یک جهان به هم پیوسته بودن" رو به آدم میده، ولی خب متأسفانه ما از کاربرای جدید سایت هستیم و هر ریویویی که می نویسیم زیر خروارها ریویوی قدیمی تر یا محبوب تر مدفون میشه و این احتمال هم هست که هرگز خونده نشن.این ینی شما فقط در حال هدر دادن و
Duffy Pratt
I should have liked this more than I did. I get the feeling that I should have read this book 25 to 30 years ago, back when I had my own pretend brushes with poverty. Orwell took a deeper dip in than I ever did. Yet, I still got the feeling that his being down and out veered just a bit towards the pretend. It seems pretty clear that he had some safety valves in place, and chose not to call on them. All the while he was in France, he could have contacted his English friend who ended up setting hi ...more
Anas Abukhadijah
ملاحـظة : سـمعت او قرأت لا اذكر اين ان اوريل قال في مقابلة أو مقالة انه زار الكثـير من الامـاكـن
الفقيرة في آسيا واختلط بمشردين اوروبا ودافع عنهم وطالب بحقوقهم لكنه لم يحبهم من قلبه يوماً ما

لكثرة ال ( أو ) في الملاحظة نتجاوزها الى الرواية

القراءة لاوريل ليس نزهة وإن كانت ممتعة, كل رواية ستخلي ورائها عشرات الأسئلة ذات الصوت المرتفع

من بعض ما اراد اورويل قوله

انك اذا رأيت متشرداً يلتحف جسراً في مدينة ما فلا تنظر له بازدراء لان الارض
اقسى من ان يفترشها بإرادته ولا تخف ان يسرق فراشك الوافر اذا ساعده
Barry Pierce
My first foray into Orwell's non-fiction. A harsh insight into life on the breadline in two major cities, Paris and London. Orwell's view of Paris kind of reminded me of the Paris portrayed in the film La Haine. That may sound odd but in La Haine the director purposely didn't show any of the "touristy" parts of Paris (i.e. the Eiffel Tour and the Arc de Triomphe). Orwell does this as well, he shows Paris as it really was, a slum. I admire this portrayal. There are no rose-tinted spectacles in th ...more
Sumirti Singaravel
Consider: When was the last time you entered into a friendly banter with a tramp( I mean with no oozing heart of humanity or without a streak sympathetic tone) Or tossed a coin to a beggar without a self-appreciation about your qualities of altruism? Are you the one who think that all those poor are so because they are lazy-bum? Are you a writer or an artist who is afraid of poverty? Or simply someone who loves eating in big restaurants?

If you are one of the above, this book is meant for your r
It is a fairly trivial story, and I can only hope that it has been interesting in the same way as a travel diary is interesting.

Orwell documents some of his experience in poverty in two city-regions, and mixes his own expereinces and narrated anecdotes from 'fellow-travellers' with a few asides on the nature of poverty, society-as-a-whole, linguistics, and even dabbles in a little 'what-is-to-be-done'.

It is structurally rambling ... maybe tramp-like? But it still contains many of his charms: th
Paul Cheney
In the early 1930's Orwell took himself to Paris and then to London to experience the areas that were the poorest in those capital cities.

He was staying in the Latin Quarter in Paris. It was a bohemian area and quite cosmopolitan. There were a large number of Russians who had left after the revolution there. Other famous writers had also lived there for a time. After he had a sum of money stolen, he was almost destitute and was just about scraping a living. He managed to get a job as a plongeur
George Orwell is one of those writers who you THINK you know when you read his couple, well-known books in your adolescence. Later, when older, you discover that 9/10 of his writing was submerged and hidden from your younger, more innocent self. The more of Orwell's nonfiction I read, the more I love his boldness, clearness, and audacity. Orwell's confidence in his writing is apparent even in his earlier works. Down and Out doesn't make me want to tramp, but it did teach me a couple tricks just ...more
الكثير من الجوع والبؤس في هذه الرواية
Chase Von
Nov 13, 2008 Chase Von rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who is an adult!!!
Down and Out in Paris and London is yet another book by George Orwell I couldn't put down! I am well into my adult life yet I had some how managed to not read any of his works until a friend convinced me I "Had" to read 1984. I'd heard the term "Big Brother" like we all had but since I read that book, I have made it a mission in life to get my hands on everything he has ever written! Without a doubt I would have to say he is certainly my favorite author! Down and Out like all the works I've read ...more
Orwell certainly took a different approach to documenting the life in poverty than my last read that Zola and Celine depicted.

By no means joyful, you were still hit with the absurdity and desolate nature of poverty, but Orwell still offered glimpses of hope. There was humour embedded in his recounts of his fortunes and setbacks, but not alike Celine's where you didn't know if you wanted to cry of laughter or pity.

Relatively simple prose journeying through Paris and London, with an arrangement of
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The People of the Abyss
  • To the Finland Station
  • The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War
  • Brighton Rock
  • Paris France
  • Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
  • Goodbye to All That
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
  • Paris: The Biography of a City
  • London Belongs to Me
  • A Time of Gifts
  • Why Orwell Matters
  • The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A Selection
  • Seven Ages of Paris
  • Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings
  • George Orwell
  • 'Rommel?' 'Gunner Who?': A Confrontation in the Desert
  • George Orwell: A Life
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary ed
More about George Orwell...
1984 Animal Farm Animal Farm / 1984 Homage to Catalonia Burmese Days

Share This Book

“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.” 134 likes
“It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level.” 91 likes
More quotes…