Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. George Orwell's dystopian masterwork, Nineteen Eight-Four , was first published seventy-four years ago today. Set in a totalitarian London in an imagined future where all citizens are subject to constant government surveillance and historical reeducation, Nineteen Eighty-Four tells the story of Winston Smith, a mid-level everyman at the Ministry of Truth who dreams of rebellion and who falls in love with a fellow aspiring revolutionary named Julia. Things…do not turn out well for the pair. Here's a look back at some of the novel's very first reviews. * “Nineteen Eighty-Four goes through the reader like an east wind, cracking the skin, opening the sores; hope has died in Mr Orwell's wintry mind, and only pain is known. I do not think I have ever read a novel more frightening and depressing; and yet, such are the originality, the suspense, the speed of writing and withering indignation that it is impossible to put down. The faults of Orwell as a writer—monotony, nagging, the lonely schoolboy shambling down the one dispiriting track—are transformed now he rises to a large subject. … “These wars are mainly fought far from the great cities and their objects are to use up the excessive productiveness of the machine, and yet to get control of rare raw materials or cheap native labour. It also enables the new governing class, who are modelled on the Stalinists, to keep down the standard of living and nullify the intelligence of the masses whom they no longer pretend to have liberated. The collective oligarchy can operate securely only on a war footing. It is with this moral corruption of absolute power that Mr Orwell's novel is concerned. … “In the homes of Party members a tele-screen is fitted, from which canned propaganda continually pours, and on which the pictures of Big Brother, the leader…Also by this device the Thought Police, on endless watch for Thought Crime, can observe the people night and day. What precisely Thought Crime is no one knows; but in general it is […]
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