George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (Harcourt, 1933)
After leaving the service of Great Britain's Imperial Police in Burma, Orwell spent the late 1920s slumming in Paris and tramping in London. Though occasionally verbose, Down and Out in Paris and London sits at the head of the table in the tradition of literary journalism. Orwell was neither first nor last in using beautifully crafted prose to depict a marginalized set in society, yet, decades later, writers look to his nonfiction as a guide in immersion journalism. In reality, Orwell sometimes fled the miserable poverty he introduced himself into while reporting on Down and Out for a respite with family members. Nonetheless, his accounts of seedy residential hotels, the hellish conditions of a Parisian restaurant where he washed dished and the time spent on the road around London with a group of motley tramps feels legitimate. As Orwell narrates a penniless period in Paris where he is forced to share bread with the transient sleeping on his hotel room floor, his hunger and deprivation aren't in question.