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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  

Lovereading view...

September 2013 Guest Editor Daisy Waugh on Nineteen Eighty-Four...

It’s the most depressing book I have ever read, and the hardest to shake off. Unlike the novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, this is one I’m happy not to have written. (Which is lucky.) In fact, 1984 provides such an indelibly gloomy take on what it is to be human, I almost wish I had never read it at all. Except I did. And it was brilliant. And I want everyone to read it so that then at least we can all be indelibly gloomy together.

January 2012 Guest Editor Simon Lelic selects Nineteen Eighty-Four...

Not exactly an original pick, I realise, and some (irrationally, in my mind) would dispute its literary merits. On the other hand, it has proved almost Shakespearean in its impact on the English psyche – and certainly on mine. I read it first for GCSE English, and I still have the copy I should probably have returned to my teacher at the end of the school year. Which makes me worry now that perhaps I have deprived someone else of the pleasure. I’m including it here as penance, but also because I couldn’t not.

The Lovereading view...

Chosen by the public through a survey to coincide with the 10th birthday celebrations of World Book Day 2007, this title is one of ‘the ten books the nation can’t live without’. Have you read them all? Below are links to each title and position on the list.

1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
4. Harry Potter JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens

If you like George Orwell you might also like to read books by Anthony Burgess.

Synopsis

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. Nineteen Eight-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.

Reviews

'His final masterpiece. Enthralling and indispensible for understanding modern history' Timothy Garton Ash

'Right up there among my favourite books ... I read it again and again' Margaret Atwood

'More relevant to today than almost any other book that you can think of' Jo Brand

'One of the most shocking novels of the twentieth century' Margaret Drabble

'The book of the twentieth century' Ben Pimlott

About the Author

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there. At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of the Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.

George Orwell died in London in January 1950. A few days before, Desmond MacCarthy had sent him a message of greeting in which he wrote: ‘You have made an indelible mark on English literature . . . you are among the few memorable writers of your generation.’

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd July 2008

Author

George Orwell

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Author's Website

www.george-orwell.org/

Publisher

Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
336 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Classic science fiction

ISBN

9780141036144

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