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Nineteen Eighty-Four (first published in 1949) by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control, accomplished with a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc), which is administered by a privileged Inner Party elite. Yet they too are subordinated to the totalitarian cult of personality of Big Brother, the deified Party leader who rules with a philosophy that decries individuality and reason as thought crimes; thus the people of Oceania are subordinated to a supposed collective greater good. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record is congruent with the current party ideology. Because of the childhood trauma of the destruction of his family — the disappearances of his parents and sister — Winston Smith secretly hates the Party, and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.
As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole, have become contemporary vernacular since its publication in 1949. Moreover, Nineteen Eighty-Four popularized the adjective Orwellian, which refers to official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past in service to a totalitarian or manipulative political agenda.
George Orwell “encapsulate[d] the thesis at the heart of his unforgiving novel” in 1944, and three years later wrote most of it on the Scottish island of Jura, during the 1947–48 period, despite being critically tubercular. On December 4, 1948, he sent the final manuscript to the Secker and Warburg editorial house who published Nineteen Eighty-Four on June 8, 1949. By 1989, it had been translated in to some 65 languages, the greatest number for any English-language novel at the time.
The title of the novel, its terms, its Newspeak language, and the author’s surname are contemporary bywords for privacy lost to the State; while the adjective Orwellian connotes a totalitarian dystopia characterized by government control and subjugation of the people. As a language, Newspeak applies different meanings to things and actions by referring only to the end to be achieved, not the means of achieving it; hence, the Ministry of Peace (Minipax) deals with war, and the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) deals with brainwashing and torture. The Ministries do achieve their goals; peace through war, and love of Big Brother through mind control. (Wikipedia.org)