Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1984 in 1949 (and 2017)

14 comments:

  1. 1984 was my first experience with Orwell's work, Tim, and it had a real impact on me. I admire his style very much, actually, so I can see how you recommend him to aspiring writers.

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    1. Margot, writers should read at least "Shooting an Elephant " and "Politics of English Language." They are masterpieces of clarity and composition.

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  2. Just last night I started sketching some thoughts on why 1984 remains popular. People tend to use it for authoritarianism, but that misses the point altogether. The most sinister aspect of 1984 is that there isn't a dictator -- the system itself is the tyrant.

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    1. Yes, Stephen, the followers frighten me than the leaders. That pertains to the novel and real life.

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    2. Correction: the followers frighten me more than the leaders.

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    3. that's why we live out in the country: farther away from the dangerous ones(all humans, more or less)...

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    4. Mudpuddle, I envy your Utopia. But Big Brother does exist, and he sees even way out yonder. Right? Our founding fathers would be aghast at what our government has become.

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  3. Tim,

    A bit of trivia: one of Orwell's instructors at Eton was Aldous Huxley, the author of another well-known dystopia, _Brave New World_.

    Your post reminds me of a project I've been meaning to do for some time now: read _1984_, _Brave New World_, and _Brave New World Revisited_ by Huxley, published in 1958. In the book, Huxley looks at the world in 1958 and compares it to the projected worlds in _Brave New World_ and to some extent that of _1984_.

    I'm glad you mentioned those essays for those are two of my favorite works by Orwell.

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    1. That sounds like a fascinating reading plan, Fred. I had a writing teacher, Flossie Lewis (highlighted in a previous posting), who told me to read Orwell if I wanted to become a better writer. She was a great teacher.

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  4. I have long thought that Orwell's novel would have been better had he visited the U. S. and seen what modern advertising can do.American secular advertising has done more to undermine values than anything a ham-handed boor such as Big Brother could ever achieve. Modern advertising is the triumph of the lowest common denominator — in culture, manners, and thought. Just look around.

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    1. Great point, Frank. I think Marshall McCluhan and Vance Packard nailed the problem. We remain brainwashed in spite of ourselves. I'm trying to imagine a culture without advertising. Impossible dream.

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    2. I hate adverts with a passion. I've managed to eliminate most of them and now only see them when I visit the cinema. Some of my friends think I'm 'out of touch' with things - but it's a lot more peaceful (and mentally healthy) not being bombarded by them each and every day.

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  5. Nineteen Eighty - Four is really disturbed me.

    The way that the malevolent State is set up and the way it uses technology is truly frightening. However, for me, the true horror of the book lies in what happens to the characters. There are indeed fates worse then death.

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    1. 'Tis a frightening world populated by frightening and frightened people then and now, Brian

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