Tuesday, June 25, 2013

George Orwell's 110th Birth Anniversary

“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell's farsighted and frightening novel Nineteen Eighty-Four has widely influenced modern language by his neologistic creations such as Big Brother, Cold War, Thought Police, among others. The Guardian has an interesting article on what it took for Orwell to write his opus magnum, including an analysis of the process of creating the futuristic language and society. It's a novel that first time readers always find timely and contemporary. As to why he chose 1984 as his title, the author of the article states, "Orwell's title remains a mystery. Some say he was alluding to the centenary of the Fabian Society, founded in 1884. Others suggest a nod to Jack London's novel The Iron Heel (in which a political movement comes to power in 1984), or perhaps to one of his favourite writer GK Chesterton's story, "The Napoleon of Notting Hill", which is set in 1984." He also states that upon publication, it was considered an instant classic, "even by Winston Churchill, who told his doctor that he had read it twice." GoodReads has a comprehensive page of Orwell's quotes, many of which are heavy and ponderous, but always seemingly relevant to almost any historic era. Cautionary tales are not always easy to read, but they are often the most compelling and enlightening ones.

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