George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century, making famous Big Brother, newspeak and Room 101.
'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past'
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.
Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. All his novels and non-fiction, including Burmese Days (1934), Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) and Homage to Catalonia (1938) are published in Penguin Modern Classics.
If you enjoyed Nineteen Eighty-Four, you might like Orwell's Animal Farm, also available in Penguin Great Orwell.
'His final masterpiece ... enthralling and indispensible for understanding modern history'
Timothy Garton-Ash, New York Review of Books
'The book of the twentieth century ... haunts us with an ever-darker relevance'