Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel by George Orwell published in 1949. It is a dystopian andsatirical novel set in Oceania, where society is tyrannized by The Party and its totalitarianideology. The Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political systemeuphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes.Their tyranny is headed by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intensecult of personality, but who may not even exist. Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record always supports the current party line. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole, have entered everyday use since its publication in 1949. Moreover, Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjectiveOrwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIMEmagazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor's list, and 6 on the reader's list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
History and title.
George Orwell "encapsulate[d] the thesis at the heart of his unforgiving novel" in 1944, and three years later wrote most of it on the Scottish island of Jura, from 1947 to 1948, despite being seriously ill withtuberculosis. On 4 December 1948, he sent the final manuscript to the publisher Secker and Warburg and Nineteen Eighty-Four was published on 8 June 1949. By 1989, it had been translated into sixty-five languages, more than any other novel in English at the time. The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language, and the author's surname are often invoked against control and intrusion by the state, while the adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Orwell's invented language, Newspeak, satirizes hypocrisy and evasion by the state: for example, the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) oversees torture and brainwashing, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty) oversees shortage and famine, the Ministry of Peace(Minipax) oversees war and atrocity, and the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) oversees propaganda and historical revisionism.
The Last Man in Europe was one of the original titles for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Warburg suggested changing the Mantitle to one more commercial. The rejected title may allude to the poem "End of the Century, 1984" (1934) by Orwell's first and then wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy (1905–1945), to G. K. Chesterton's novel also set in a future London of 1984, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904), and to the Jack London novel The Iron Heel (1908).
In the novel 1985 (1978), Anthony Burgess suggests that Orwell, disillusioned by the onset of the Cold War (1945–91), intended to call the book 1948. The...