Saturday, June 8, 1974

1984 by George Orwell: Published 25 Years Ago Today

Updated 7/5/2020.


George Orwell

First Publication: June 8, 1949

Category: dystopian novel

Sales: 30 million


About the Book:

1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future.” AZ “It is probable that no other work of this generation has made us desire freedom more earnestly or loathe tyranny with such fullness. 1984, the most contemporary novel of the year and who knows of how many past and to come, is a great examination into and dramatization of Lord Acton’s famous apothegm, ‘power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’” – New York Times 1949 review by Mark Schorer BN

“The novel is set in…1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation…Great Britain…A superstate named Oceania…is ruled by the ‘Party,’ who employ the ‘Thought Police’ to persecute individualism and independent thinking.” WK

“Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party…But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching.” AZ

“While 1984 has come and gone, [Orwell’s] dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever.” AZ “A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984…is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions – a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.” AZ “So persuasive and chilling was the world summoned up here that ‘Orwellian’ has entered the language as shorthand for government control. Chilling, wry and romantic, it is above all a passionate cry for freedom.” TG

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In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our July 2019 book.

Tuesday, June 4, 1974

E.M. Forster's A Passage to India published 50 years ago

First posted 7/5/2020.

A Passage to India

E.M. Forster

First Publication: June 4, 1924

Category: novel about culture clash

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction
About the Book:

“Among the greatest novels of the twentieth century and the basis for director David Lean’s Academy Award-winning film.” AZ “The novel is based on Forster’s experiences in India, deriving the title from Walt Whitman’s 1870 poem ‘Passage to India’ in Leaves of Grass.” WK

The book is set “set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s.” WK It “tells of the clash of cultures in British India after the turn of the century. In exquisite prose, Forster reveals the menace that lurks just beneath the surface of ordinary life, as a common misunderstanding erupts into a devastating affair.” AZ

“The story revolves around four characters: Dr. AZ iz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Miss Adela Quested. During a trip to the fictitious Marabar Caves (modeled on the Barabar Caves of Bihar), Adela thinks she finds herself alone with Dr. AZ iz in one of the caves (when in fact he is in an entirely different cave), and subsequently panics and flees; it is assumed that Dr. AZ iz has attempted to assault her. AZ iz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring to a boil the common racial tensions and prejudices between Indians and the British who rule India.” WK

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