1984 tops the best-seller lists once again
Anna Matthews, from the The Foundation for Economic Education, has researched some interesting facts about George Orwell, author of the famous novel 1984.
Published: July 20, 2017, 12:06 pm
The book was incredibly popular at the time it was published, and it remains so. The tome once again featured on best-seller lists in early 2017, as some argue that Orwell’s dystopian vision has finally arrived.
Before he wrote 1984, Orwell worked for the British government during World War II as a propagandist at the BBC.
He initially named the novel 1980, and then 1982 before settling on 1984. Written in 1948, some speculate that he inverting the year the book was written for his eventual title. Additionally, he thought about naming the novel The Last Man in Europe.
Orwell borrowed Japanese propaganda for his novel. The “Thought Police” are based on the Japanese wartime secret police who went round arresting Japanese citizens for suspected “unpatriotic thoughts”. Their official name was the Kempeitai, who fought a “thought war”.
While writing the novel, Orwell was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He died seven months after 1984 was published of the disease.
Even though Orwell’s novel is an all-time bestseller, it is also the world’s top ten most frequently banned books. It chronicles the grim future of a society without free will, privacy and truth. It was a veiled attack against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet ruler’s infamous “midnight purges” and banned by the Soviet Union in 1950, as Stalin understood that it was a satire based on his leadership.
While many claimed the book was “anti-communist” others maintained it was “pro-communist”. The irony is that a book warning against totalitarianism is often censored… by totalitarians.
In 2002, his novel Animal Farm was banned in the schools of the United Arab Emirates, because it contained text or images that goes against Islamic values, most notably the occurrence of an anthropomorphic, talking pig.
Orwell himself was being surveilled by the British government while writing his novel warning about government surveillance. The British government was worried that Orwell held “socialist opinions” after he published The Road to Wigan Pier, a true story about poverty and the lower class in England.
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