George Orwell's 1984

Orwell, George

George Orwell, pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair, 1903–50, British novelist and essayist, b. Bengal, India. He is best remembered for his scathingly satirical and frighteningly political novels, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. After attending Eton, he served (1922–27) with the Indian imperial police in Burma (now Myanmar). He returned to Europe in 1927, living penuriously in Paris and later in London. In 1936 he fought with the Republicans in the Spanish civil war and was seriously wounded. His writings—particularly such early works as Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), Burmese Days (1934), The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), and Homage to Catalonia (1938)—are highly autobiographical.

Orwell was a keen critic of imperialism, fascism, Stalinism, and capitalism, all of which seemed to him forms of political oppression, and although he espoused a sort of socialism, he refused to be formally associated with any ideology or party label. His works are concerned with the sociopolitical conditions of his time, notably with the problem of human freedom. Animal Farm (1946) is a witty, satirical fable about the failure of Soviet-style Communism, and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) is a prophetic novel describing the dehumanization of humanity in a mechanistic, totalitarian world. Orwell's other novels include A Clergyman's Daughter (1935), Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936), and Coming Up for Air (1940). The master of a superbly lucid prose style, Orwell wrote many literary essays, which some critics find superior to his novels. His volumes of essays include Dickens, Dali and Others (1946), Shooting an Elephant (1950), and the Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (4 vol., 1968, repr. 2000).

See S. Orwell and I. Angus, ed., The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (4 vol., 1968, repr., 2000); P. Davison, ed., The Complete Works of George Orwell (20 vol., 1998), George Orwell: A Life in Letters (2010), and Diaries (2012); S. Orwell and I. Angus, ed., The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters (4 vol., 1968, repr. 2000); biographies by B. Crick (1980), M. Shelden (1991), J. Meyers (2000), G. Bowker (2003), and D. J. Taylor (2003); A. Coppard and B. Crick, ed., Orwell Remembered (1985); studies by J. Meyers, ed. (1975), R. Williams (1981), L. Hunter (1984), R. Alok (1989), J. Rodden (1989, repr. 2002), and C. Hitchens (2002).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Student Companion to George Orwell
Mitzi M. Brunsdale.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "In Front of Our Noses: Nineteen Eighty-Four"
On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future
Abbott Gleason; Jack Goldsmith; Martha C. Nussbaum.
Princeton University Press, 2005
George Orwell
Courtney T. Wemyss; Alexej Ugrinsky.
Greenwood Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of 1984 in multiple chapters
Storm Warnings: Science Fiction Confronts the Future
George E. Slusser; Colin Greenland; Eric S. Rabkin.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "Coming Up on 1984" begins on p. 97, and "Images of Nineteen Eighty-Four: Fiction and Prediction" begins on p. 124
Essays on Politics and Literature
Bernard Crick.
Edinburgh University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Reading Nineteen Eighty-Four as Satire"
No Place Else: Explorations in Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
Eric S. Rabkin; Martin H. Greenberg; Joseph D. Olander.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Utopia Reconsidered: Comments on 1984"
Dystopian Literature: A Theory and Research Guide
M. Keith Booker.
Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "George Orwell: 1984" begins on p. 208
Power of Images/Images of Power in Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Varricchio, Mario.
Utopian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1999
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Chaos versus Contingency Theory: Epistemological Issues in Orwell's '1984.'
Argyros, Alexander J.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 26, No. 1, Winter 1993
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Transformations of Language in Modern Dystopias
David W. Sisk.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "It's a Beautiful Thing, the Destruction of Words"
The Underground Man as Big Brother: Dostoevsky's and Orwell's Anti-Utopia
Wanner, Adrian.
Utopian Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter 1997
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
George Orwell: Fugitive from the Camp of Victory
Richard Rees.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of 1984 begins on p. 88
The Paradox of George Orwell
Richard J. Voorhees.
Purdue University, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of 1984 begins on p. 78
Modernity and Progress: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Orwell
Ronald Berman.
University of Alabama Press, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Orwell - The Future of Progress"
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