Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Nineteen Eighty-Four (sometimes written 1984) is a 1949 dystopian novel by George Orwell about an oligarchical, collectivist society. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control. The individual is always subordinated to the state, and it is in part this philosophy which allows the Party to manipulate and control humanity. In the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue, in Newspeak), protagonist Winston Smith is a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party's propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meagre existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother, eventually leading to his arrest, torture, and reconversion.

As literary political fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel of the social science fiction subgenre. Since its publication in 1949, many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and Memory hole, have become contemporary vernacular. In addition, the novel popularized the adjective Orwellian, which refers to lies, surveillance, or manipulation of the past in the service of a totalitarian agenda.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Nineteen Eighty-Four thirteenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.


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