Nineteen Eighty-Four (also titled 1984) by George Orwell (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair), is an English dystopian novel about life in a dictatorship as lived by Winston Smith, an intellectual worker at the Ministry of Truth (news media), and his degradation when he runs afoul of the political correctness of the totalitarian government of Oceania, the country in which he lives in the year 1984. Much of the government is based on the reality of life in Communist states.
Nineteen Eighty-Four was written in 1948 and published in 1949 and has been translated to many languages. The novel's title, its terms and its language "Newspeak" and its author's surname are bywords for personal privacy lost to national state security. The adjective Orwellian denotes totalitarian action and organisation; the phrase: Big Brother is Watching You connote pervasive, invasive surveillance.
Although the novel has been banned or challenged in some countries, it, along with Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, is among literature's most famous dystopias. In 2005, Time magazine listed it among the best one hundred English-language novels published since 1923.
Thoughtcrime and Newspeak
"Newspeak" is the fictional language in the novel. It is a controlled language created as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. Any form of thought alternative to the party’s construct is classified as "thoughtcrime".
- Libraries may catalog the book under Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1984, or both.
- Marcus, Laura; Peter Nicholls (2005). The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82077-4. p. 226: "Brave New World [is] traditionally bracketed with Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as a dystopia…"