1984 – The comparison dystopia that never dies

In 1984, George Orwell lived just 227 days after it was published on June 8, 1949. These days were enough for him to see how his book would resonate—not only literary, but also political and social. , but just a glance: 227 days seems like a small number, given the longevity that the British author’s novel has, and that early readers are still alive to see how it compares, among other things, to “an earthquake, a bale of dynamite or a bottle of poison labels” , as described in The Ministry of Truth (Captain Swing) recently published by Dorian Lynskey. Nazism, Stalinism and World War II. so to speak, it is no longer in the air we breathe. there is much more

A journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian, Lynskey wrote a seemingly definitive biography of Orwell’s great novel. In it, he examines the creation process of the work in depth, places it in its historical context and analyzes its projection to date. The book leaves no doubt about its origin: it was in Spain, during the Civil War, that the perfect seed of dystopia sprouted. “Assuming 1984 and Animal Farm are satires against totalitarianism, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Orwell’s direct encounter with totalitarianism occurred in Spain,” explains Lynskey. “When he returned to Barcelona after being wounded at the front, he found the rear guard in turmoil and an almost semi-police state with Soviet-inspired communists persecuting other leftist groups. This was a big shock to him. It was as if Stalin had exported his purges to Barcelona. He regarded the civil war within the civil war as a great betrayal”.

It was 1943 when Orwell decided to write the novel, which he originally named The Last Man in Europe (which, by the way, was published in 2017 by Australian Dennis Glover and recreates Orwell’s last days). 1984 article). The last man in Europe, the year 1984, was thus the object of a long gestation period, a protracted upbringing whose traces can be traced in literary production before the author sat down to shape the work. “I was amazed at how much Orwell wrote about 1984 in his journalism articles, essays, book reviews, movie reviews, letters, diary entries. I realized how long I’ve been thinking about this. I think what made reading such an enjoyable book was years of reflection on politics, language and ideology as well as human nature.”

The most seasoned critics immediately understood the message of 1984: The germ of totalitarianism is everywhere, in us as well as in others. That was the British author’s aim, but not everyone understood it that way: it was easy to give in to political temptation and use the book as a throwing weapon, one day us against the others, the next day the opposite. it has been from the beginning. It was also easy not to read and make hearsay comments. Lynskey writes that Pravda, the official newspaper of the Soviet Communist Party, is “a book that strongly touches the political sensitivities of its readers and exposes their prejudices”. It was written “at the behest of Wall Street.”

The Ministry of Truth describes the fever that broke out in the Anglo-Saxon world in 1983, on the eve of 1984, or in 1984, which caused the work to sell nearly four million copies that year and the following years. There were so many and intense years of excesses in the Roma environment that the popular British journalist Paul Johnson was probably right when he wrote that these excesses had turned into “a kind of Orwellian nightmare in themselves.” Not many remember today, but in January 1984 Apple released its first Macintosh, the 128K; Given the importance of the year, Steve Jobs’ company did not miss the opportunity to run an Orwellian anticipation campaign. “On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce the Macintosh, and then you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984,” said a voice-over over a scene that clearly references the novel.

always relevant

1983 wasn’t the only year 1984 when sales saw a sudden and brutal spike. That’s something this novel has. This happened, for example, after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 (sales increased 7,000% on Amazon) about the surveillance and control of communications by the US government, or, as the president claimed, after Donald Trump took office. When questioned as “the most watched ceremony in history”, her adviser Kellyanne Conway came out to say the government was considering “alternative data.” A journalist paralleled Orwell, and book sales in the US increased by 10,000%. And so, periodically, 1984 records sales peaks that basically speak of the society we live in.

“Orwell has always been relevant,” says Lynskey. “It always sold well, it was always interesting to people, it always seemed to talk about the present, and that’s because it’s a book not only about totalitarianism, but also about politics, information, and surveillance. But it seems particularly relevant right now, because we live in a certain convergence, this convergence of skepticism about the internet and new technologies, and the rise of governments that aren’t really totalitarian but are moving or trying to move in that direction. After all, dystopia is today, as most would agree.

Source: Informacion


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