On This Day

Nineteen Eighty-Four Published

The cover of the first edition of George Orwell's classic novel
The cover of the first edition of George Orwell's classic novel

Historical Context

George Orwell's classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in a dystopian future Great Britain, now known as Airstrip One, run by a totalitarian government. Themes of mass surveillance, propaganda and war pervade the novel, which gave rise to well-known terms today like Big Brother, thoughtcrime, doublethink, Thought Police, Newspeak, Room 101 and many others.

The novel follows a member of the ruling party in Oceania (the superstate in which Airstrip One is located) named Winston Smith who secretly despises the government, dreams of overthrowing it and enters into a banned relationship with Julia, his colleague. Nineteen Eighty-Four is Orwell's most famous work and gave rise to the term Orwellian, used to describe anything immensely restrictive and harmful to a free society.

The book has been adapted into many forms, including a film released in the year 1984 and starring John Hurt and Richard Burton.

Publication Info

Location published: United Kingdom

Source: Lawrence Person's Futuramen

Related Events

  • 1949-06-08 Secker & Warburg publishes George Orwell's seminal novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four", set in the totalitarian state of Oceania

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