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Daily History

June 6 1949 George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four is published

On June 6th 1949, George Orwell’s novel of a dystopian future, Nineteen Eighty-four, was published. The novel’s all-seeing leader, known as “Big Brother,” became a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy.

George Orwell was the nom de plume of Eric Blair, who was born in India. The son of a British civil servant, Orwell attended school in London and won a scholarship to the elite prep school Eton, where most students came from wealthy upper-class backgrounds, unlike Orwell. Rather than going to college like most of his classmates, Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police and went to work in Burma in 1922. During his five years there, he developed a severe sense of class guilt; finally in 1927, he chose not to return to Burma while on holiday in England.

Orwell, choosing to immerse himself in the experiences of the urban poor, went to Paris, where he worked menial jobs, and later spent time in England as a tramp. He wrote Down and Out in Paris and London in 1933, based on his observation of the poorer classes, and in 1937 his Road to Wigan Pier documented the life of the unemployed in northern England. Meanwhile, he had published his first novel, Burmese Days, in 1934.

Orwell became increasingly left wing in his views, although he never committed himself to any specific political party. He went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War to fight with the Republicans, but later fled as communism gained an upper hand in the struggle on the left. His barnyard fable, Animal Farm (1945), shows how the noble ideals of egalitarian economies can easily be distorted. The book brought him his first taste of critical and financial success. Orwell’s last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, brought him lasting fame with its grim vision of a future where all citizens are watched constantly and language is twisted to aid in oppression. Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950.

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About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


15 thoughts on “June 6 1949 George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four is published

  1. One of the top-10 “before his time” writers… great hub!

    Posted by Marc Phillippe Babineau | June 6, 2012, 14:14
  2. Timely…

    Posted by vam | June 6, 2012, 14:21
  3. Reblogged this on verum intus, fulsi vacuus and commented:
    A timely recall, especially of 1984… It foresees all that happening today through surveillance and propagandist use of language.

    And then, that spiritual crisis of sorts he lived with… in empathy with the poor and the exploited of the world. My salute !

    Posted by vam | June 6, 2012, 14:25
  4. One of my favourite authors!

    Posted by Delicious History Blog | June 6, 2012, 14:37
  5. Reblogged this on The Revivers and commented:
    George Orwell projected the rise of the communist style state control over people in his book 1984. It has come true. Not under communism but under secular democracy. Big Brother is now a reality. Though control through manipulation of meanings and definitions of languages is just as real today. Room 101 is more than just a room, its an island!!

    Posted by Arif Khan | June 6, 2012, 19:06
  6. Orwell was a fine writer. The cynic in me says that much of his success was due to his “conversion” away from communist ideology: always good PR for the establishment. Robert Tressell wasn’t quite so lucky!

    Posted by Rob | June 6, 2012, 21:55
  7. Orwell’s writing has retained its relevance. I am still mesmerized by the images of fascism that come up in my mind. It was only in school that I learned that communism was his seed for the book and not Hitler. 1984 seems very similar to the proto theocracy, neo fascism of today.

    Posted by swabby429 | June 7, 2012, 00:53
  8. Never heard about .. about this novel – but I love the “Animal Farm” – was about 25 when I read it. The book is older than me. Only book I have read of his.

    Posted by viveka | June 8, 2012, 05:39
  9. This is a man who deserves to be highlighted and remembered, so thanks, and what an interesting blog you have!

    Posted by Fuel For Faith | June 10, 2012, 06:46
  10. What Orwell wrote was definitely farseeing. Add what Orwell wrote to something Alexis DeTocqueville wrote, and we just might gain a better understanding of our current circumstances.

    Posted by Citizen Tom | June 16, 2012, 08:01
  11. I remember when 1984 finally arrived. Everyone was comparing the real world to Orwell’s vision.

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | June 19, 2012, 11:00
  12. George Orwell’s books Animal Farm, and Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-four of totalitarian systems are highly relevant today. Modeled after the Stalinism, the basic pattern was repeated by Mao’s Big Leap and the Cultural Revolution, by Pol-Pot, just to name a few. It’s about state totalitarianism, and if you look too much to right or to the left you become a road-kill by well-meaning national or transnational organization. The best example the European Union, the hunger of central power and the severe distortion of reality by language intended to disguise, distort, or obscure its actual meaning was aptly foreseen in “Nineteen Eighty-four”
    Political language, George Orwell wrote nearly 60 years ago, is “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. It is a pity that Orwell won’t be around to write a new book about the double-speak that passes for the European Union’s and the national finance ministers official discourse on the EU crises.

    Posted by mucbkksfo | June 25, 2012, 16:57


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