On this date in 1949, George Orwell (1903-1950) published the great novel 1984, the unforgettable satire of a world ruled by Big Brother, all-powerful and forever watching.
"The quickest way to end a war," he said, "is to lose it."
Protagonist Winston Smith, named after Orwell's hero Winston Churchill, is a clerk at the Ministry of Truth and tries to escape by falling in love with Julia... But, of course in 1984, nobody can really escape...
"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength," wrote Orwell as the official slogans of Big Brother.
Born Eric Arthur Blair, Orwell wrote 1984, his last novel, on the island of Jura off the Scottish coast. He was suffering from tuberculosis and said that the book wouldn't have been so gloomy had he not been so ill. But by focusing on totalitarianism, hopeless love, and cruelty, Orwell's classic was a window pane to his view of the world.
Nineteen Eighty-Four was decades ahead of its time... Giving birth to memorable cultural concepts (Newspeak, Doublethink)... Warning present and future generations about the dangers of control and power.
Startling, but necessary...
"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness," he once warned, "One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."
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