Nineteen Eighty-Four

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss George Orwell’s (1903-1950) final novel, published in 1949, set in a dystopian London which is now found in Airstrip One, part of the totalitarian superstate of Oceania which is always at war and where the protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth as a rewriter of history: ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ The influence of Orwell’s novel is immeasurable, highlighting threats to personal freedom with concepts he named such as doublespeak, thoughtcrime, Room 101, Big Brother, memory hole and thought police.

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  • David Dwan No other episodes
    Professor of English Literature and Intellectual History at the University of Oxford
  • Lisa Mullen No other episodes
    Teaching Associate in Modern Contemporary Literature at the University of Cambridge
  • John Bowen 6 episodes
    Professor of English Literature at the University of York

Reading list

  • George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics
    Kristin Bluemel (Palgrave, 2004) Google Books →
  • George Orwell
    Gordon Bowker (Abacus, 2004) Google Books →
  • George Orwell and Religion
    Michael G. Brennan (Bloomsbury, 2016) Google Books →
  • Dystopia: A Natural History
    Gregory Claeys (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain
    Stefan Collini (Oxford University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • George Orwell: English Rebel
    Robert Colls (Oxford University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • George Orwell: A Life
    Bernard Crick (Secker & Warburg, 1980) Google Books →
  • Orwell on Jura: Locating Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Paul Delany (University of Toronto Quarterly, 30.1, 2011)
  • Liberty, Equality and Humbug: Orwell's Political Ideals
    David Dwan (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future
    Abbott Gleason, Jack Goldsmith and Martha C. Nussbaum (eds.) (Princeton University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Why Orwell Matters
    Christopher Hitchens (Basic, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell's 1984
    Dorian Lynskey (Picador, 2019) Google Books →
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four
    George Orwell (introduction by John Bowen) (Oxford World's Classics, 2021) Google Books →
  • A Life in Letters
    George Orwell (ed. Peter Davison) (Penguin, 2011) Google Books →
  • Orwell's Politics
    John Newsinger (Macmillan, 1999) Google Books →
  • Orwell, Freud, and 1984
    Paul Roazen (Virginia Quarterly Review, 54, 1978)
  • Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of 'St. George' Orwell
    John Rodden (Oxford University Press, 1989) Google Books →
  • Orwell's Cough
    John Ross (One World, 2012) Google Books →
  • Orwell: The Life
    D. J. Taylor (Chatto & Windus, 2003) Google Books →
  • On Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Biography
    D. J. Taylor (Abrams Press, 2019) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Nathan Waddell (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2020) Google Books →
  • Remembering Orwell
    Stephen Wadhams (ed.) (Penguin, 1984) Google Books →
  • Orwell
    Raymond Williams (Fontana, 1971) Google Books →
  • Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism
    Alex Woloch (Harvard University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Orwell and the Left
    Alex Zwerdling (Yale University Press, 1974) Google Books →

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Programme ID: m001bz77

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Auto-category: 823.912 (Dystopian fiction)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Doublethink, Thought Police, Room 101, Big Brother is watching you.