A week today, Friday 8th June, will be the 63rd anniversary of the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Since its first publication in 1949 reportedly more than 25 million copies have been sold worldwide and Nineteen Eighty-Four is regularly cited as one of the best books of the 20th century. The novel is the source of phrases now used as commonplace in the English language like ‘Big Brother’, ‘thought police’, ‘Room 101′, ‘doublethink’ and ‘newspeak’ and the cultural impact of 1984 has resonated into its imagined time setting and beyond. In the year 1984, Apple Macintosh launched their brand in a once only aired ad inspired by a 1984 film adaptation, more and more the book is used in the style of a cautionary tale upheld to warn against the introduction of a surveillance society. Almost every day Orwell’s arguably most famous work is referenced in the popular press. You can enjoy the anniversary of this much celebrated book with some reading on our website.
The first chapter of 1984 is on our dedicated 1984 webpage, along with lots of other pieces about the book. These include some of Orwell’s own articles on language (‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘In Front of Your Nose’), dystopian fiction (on Zamyatin’s WeWe and Arthur Koestler) and other subjects (‘Just Junk’ and ‘Pleasure Spots’). We also have plenty of other treats: the original reviews of 1984 by The Guardian and the New Statesman (by V. S. Pritchett), articles by Bernard Crick, Robert Harris, Robert McCrum and Ben Pimlott and a video Q&A with Mike Radford (director of the 1984 film version of 1984). You can also watch the BBC’s 1954 TV adaptation on YouTube (Wikipedia has some more information on the controversy around the broadcast).There’s much more on our website.
From the archive
‘Benefit of Clergy’ is Orwell’s analysis of Salvador Dali’s autobiography, his life and work and the difficulties of memoir writing.
‘Why I Write’ containing the Orwell Prize’s motto, ‘What I have most wanted to do… is to make political writing into an art’ was published in June 1946.
The wartime diaries
This week’s entry was published on 30th May 1942.
Next week’s entry will be published on 4th, 6th, 7th and 10th June 1942.
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