8 June 1949

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, often referred to as “1984,” is a dystopian novel published in 1949. It depicts a totalitarian society set in the year 1984, where the ruling Party exercises complete control over the lives of its citizens. The story follows the protagonist, Winston Smith, who works for the Party in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to match the Party’s propaganda.

The world of Nineteen Eighty-Four is characterized by constant surveillance, manipulation of information, and the suppression of individuality and independent thought. The Party, led by the enigmatic Big Brother, employs pervasive surveillance through telescreens, which monitor citizens both in their homes and public spaces. The language used by the Party, called Newspeak, aims to restrict and control thought by reducing the range of expressible ideas.

Winston becomes disillusioned with the Party’s oppressive regime and begins to rebel against its control. He embarks on a forbidden love affair with a fellow Party member named Julia, and together they join a secret resistance movement known as the Brotherhood, led by a figure called Emmanuel Goldstein. However, their rebellion is eventually discovered, leading to their arrest and subsequent torture and reprogramming by the Party.

The novel explores themes of totalitarianism, surveillance, propaganda, thought control, and the power of language. It serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of unchecked government authority and the erosion of individual freedom. Nineteen Eighty-Four has had a profound impact on literature and popular culture, and its concepts and phrases, such as “Big Brother” and “thoughtcrime,” have become widely recognized symbols of totalitarianism and government overreach.