When 1984 was published, critics were impressed by the sheer power of George Orwell’s grim and horrifying vision of the future. They praised Orwell’s gripping prose, which captured so well the details of life under an oppressive regime, from the tasteless, sodden public meals Winston eats to the gritty dust of the gray streets. In 1949, critic Mark Shorer wrote in his New York Times Book Review essay that “no real reader can neglect this experience with impunity.… He will be asked to read through pages of sustained physical and psychological pain that have seldom been equaled and never in such quiet, sober prose.” In the same year, British novelist V. S. Pritchett wrote his reaction to the novel in New Statesman and Nation. “I do not think,” the critic concluded, “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 the book down.”
Critics also praised Orwell’s ability to provoke moral outrage at...
(The entire section is 366 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of 1984 Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!