Nineteen Eighty-Four Portrays Totalitarianism and Mind Control (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: George Orwell’s most powerful warning against totalitarianism in any form fulfilled his stated desire to make political writing into an art and also celebrate his belief in the strength of the human spirit.
Summary of Event
When Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in June, 1949, George Orwell had entered the last phase of his chronic illness. Despite his persistent stubborn hopes of a full recovery from the respiratory problems and tuberculosis that plagued his adult life, he must also have felt a strong sense of urgency. The speed of planning and writing of the book, completed in two years, exceeded even his usual astoundingly short periods of composition, especially considering that his work on the book was interrupted constantly by periods of hospitalization. As Michael Shelden recounts in his 1991 biography of Orwell, the book was to be Orwell’s self-described most important work. It was impelled by his cumulative disappointment in socialism as an effective deterrent to fascism and perhaps by a subconscious realization of his own precarious mortality. Orwell wanted Nineteen Eighty-Four to be his best creative work, a distillation of language, style, and ideas that would convey most compellingly his desire (as he wrote) to make political writing into an art, as James Joyce had transformed fiction writing. It was also to be the strongest expression of the moral vision that shaped...
(The entire section is 2297 words.)
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