A novel which needs no introduction, 1984 by George Orwell [below], first published in the UK in 1949, has populated modern culture with its terms. Big Brother. Doublethink. Thoughtcrime. Newspeak. Room 101. Memory Hole. It regularly features in Best Of lists.
A first UK edition green jacket is for sale at Peter Harrington [above] for £4,000; the first impression was issued in either green or red jackets. Another UK first edition is also for sale, £9,750, owned and inscribed by friends of Eric Blair [Orwell], Eleanor and Dennis Collings.
The current UK Penguin edition [above] dates from 2004. Buy
The year is 1984. Airstrip One is a province of Oceania, one of three totalitarian super states that rule the world. It is ruled by the ‘Party’, its ideology is ‘Ingsoc’, its leader is ‘Big Brother’. The people must conform to the system, spied on by the ‘Thought Police’ using two-way telescreens. Winston Smith is a member of the middle class Outer Party, he rewrites historical records to conform to the state’s vision. Winston has an affair with Julia, something which is an act of rebellion as the Party insists sex should only take place for reproductive purposes. Winston suspects his boss, O’Brien, may be a member of a secret underground resistance called the ‘Brotherhood’.
Not an easy film to watch but, at the same time, impossible to turn away from. In the 1984 film, Winston Smith is played by a young John Hurt with Richard Burton, in his last screen appearance, as Inner Party member O’Brien. It remains chilling to this day. Watch this scene, the first meeting of O’Brien [Burton] and Winston [Hurt].
Although I read Orwell’s Animal Farm for the first time as an eleven-year old, I didn’t read 1984 until university when the year itself was rapidly approaching. I still have my copy, it’s the 1974 Penguin edition [below].
Read the first paragraph of 1984.
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: 1984 by George Orwell #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3GW via @SandraDanby