10 Things You Never Knew About Orwell's 1984

Authored by Anna Matthews via The Foundation for Economic Education,

George Orwell’s novel 1984 was incredibly popular at the time it was published, and it remains incredibly popular to this day. With multiple stars citing the book as one of their favorites – including Stephen King, David Bowie, Mel Gibson, and Kit Harrington – 1984 has been growing in popularity in recent years. The book reappeared on best-seller lists in early 2017, as some argued Orwell’s dystopian vision had finally arrived.

Below are 10 facts you might not know about Orwell’s dark novel.

1. Before he wrote 1984, Orwell worked for the British government during World War II as a propagandist at the BBC. (Perhaps seeing the propaganda industry up close led to his critical portrait in 1984.)


2. Orwell initially named the novel 1980, and then 1982 before settling on 1984. Since it was written in 1948, some think that Orwell devised the title by inverting the year the book was written. Additionally, he thought about naming the novel The Last Man in Europe.


3. While writing the novel, Orwell fought tuberculosis. The disease ultimately consumed him and he died seven months after 1984 was published, with tuberculosis as the sole cause of death. 


4. In addition to fighting tuberculosis, Orwell almost died while writing the novel. On a recreational boating trip with his children, he went overboard. Fortunately, neither this episode nor the tuberculosis prevented him from finishing his novel.


5. On an ironic note, Orwell himself was under government surveillance while writing his novel warning about government surveillance. The British government was watching Orwell because they believed he held socialist opinions. This surveillance started after he published The Road to Wigan Pier, a true story about poverty and the lower class in England. 


6. The slogan “2 + 2 = 5” originated from Russia, where the Communist regime used it as a motto of sorts in an effort to help them accomplish the goals of their five-year plan in only four years. Though the slogan is still used to point out the ills of totalitarian brainwashing today, it was not coined by Orwell.


7. In addition to borrowing a piece of Russian propaganda, Orwell also borrowed some Japanese propaganda for his novel. The “Thought Police” are based on the Japanese wartime secret police who literally arrested Japanese citizens for having “unpatriotic thoughts.” Their official name was the Kempeitai, and they officially named their pursuit the “Thought War.”


8. When Orwell worked as a propagandist for the BBC, there was a conference room there numbered 101. This room was the room of which he based the location for some of his more horrifying scenes, making the scenes themselves all the more horrifying.


9. According to Orwell’s friends and families, his second wife Sonia Brownell was the model off of which he based the love interest (Julia) of the book’s main character, Winston Smith.


10. Though his book may be popular, Orwell’s novel also makes the list of the world’s top ten most frequently banned books. Some ban it for what they claim are pro-communist points of view, and others have banned it because it is anti-communist. Regardless, it is ironic that a book warning against totalitarianism is often an item for censorship.


Ghordius Oliver Klozoff Thu, 07/20/2017 - 03:04 Permalink

the water of a swamp... stands for funds collected/used/wasted

Washington is a huge, gigantic, humungous meeting point of funds
Brussels, in comparison, is a home garden "koi" children's pond
way smaller then Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, etc., btw

the article is about "1984" and propaganda, isn't it?
now.... reflect for a moment why you read so much anti-EU agit-prop
when did you read last a pro-EU propaganda piece? ever?

are you never... suspicious? no? oh, ok

In reply to by Oliver Klozoff

Ghordius striped-pad Thu, 07/20/2017 - 04:19 Permalink

LOL. the BBC? are you frigging serious?
it's not even capable of debunking myths when they are glaringly obvious

the BBC tries to be "balanced". and fails, utterly. in fact, by giving the impression of voicing "both sides of the argument", it gives the impression that in some cases "both sides" have equivalent... facts

you are in for a rude awakening, somewhere in the future

In reply to by striped-pad

drgizmo Ghordius Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:37 Permalink

you do realize that Wash DC in the beginning ...was in fact a swamp ... "low ground too wet to plow and too shallow t o fish ... just a waste of land  ... but then ... liberty made it a "shining city on the hill" ...that the whole of the world aspired to... and lack of liberty has made it a swamp again... and despised thru out the world ...God has has is ways ... even if we do not understand them ...we should respect and obey...or ...

In reply to by Ghordius

space junk AlaricBalth Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:38 Permalink

That book has a lot of merit but depressed the fuck out of me when I read it in college.  Nowadays the only thing that comes close is hearing the lyrics to Imagine by John Lennon. A vague liberal 'utopia'-hell.  Makes me so optimistic I want to put a gun to my head. Actually The Trial has some modern day parallels with the Trump-fake Russia hysterical witchhunt bullshit.  The Left loves making vague threats and accusations at their opponents and would put us all in a gas chamber if they could get away with it.  

In reply to by AlaricBalth

rrrr AlaricBalth Thu, 07/20/2017 - 08:39 Permalink

To : AlaricBalth : Actually, The Trial, by Franz Kafka, shows how insane the modern system of Western law is, according to the perception of Franz Kafka. Western Law was not a product of his own people, and, therefore, he considered it comparatively alien and relatively incomprehensible. His short story, Metamorphosis, was a sardonic and exaggerated personal commentary in response to the local practice of comparing Jews to roaches and other vermin. If you don't understand these meanings, you're missing the most important points of his work.

In reply to by AlaricBalth

Killdo scaleindependent Thu, 07/20/2017 - 00:08 Permalink

all the totalitarian tricks he described have been used by religions for thousands of years - Orwellian renaming: you will live after you die, freedom is slavery (that's all religion is about - truning free man into slaves thanks to early and predatory brainwashing (installing fear of immaginary 'masters' and killing natural confidence and scientific outlook we are born with etc - a form of child abuse), genital mutualtion of boys (more child abuse) in the USSA (only jews/muslims do it in the rest of the world). Nobody woudl believe the totalitarian BS without all the child abuse involved . If they let children grow up free and then let them decide wheter to beleive in imaginary friends - they would laugh and tell totalitarian mafia to fuck off plain and simple1984 is nothing compared to Christianity, judaism and islam and what priests and parents suffering from Stockholm Syndrome do to kids around the world to turn them into slaves. They basically steal/'borrow' without the intention to ever give back children's future the same way bankster mafia steals/'borrows' money from the future/the same children. The whole totalitarian BS is basically canibalising the humanity and turning everythign it touches to shit. No wonder the world is full of brainless, fearful, salvish sheeple

In reply to by scaleindependent

AGuy JLM Thu, 07/20/2017 - 02:26 Permalink

"Thats all religion is about. Right. Sorry it is about knowing God and spreading the love."

Not seeing much love coming from Islam!

"You left out the important part and focused on all the assholes."

A lot of organized religion is used to get people to do things they wouldn't consider doing themselves. On Occasion its to help, but most of the time it to hate, kill, and manipulate the meek.

In reply to by JLM

Killdo Hobbleknee Thu, 07/20/2017 - 12:45 Permalink

it woudl be a choice if they never trick you (as a kid) into believeing in invisible masters etc -and then let you decide for yourself whether you think invisible imaginary creatures rulle over you once you grow up and are able to think clearly. There is no choice in religions I have hear of (Christianity, Judaism and Islam - that very word means 'submission')That's the essence - child abuse:instead of theaching kids about reality and how to solve real problems, they teach them that unreality is what the life is all about. Not reality. No wonder sheeple are unable to even identify what their problem is to start with , let alone solve it. Governemt is more of a choice than religion: you can easily immigrate to other , better country while chidl abuse creates scars that stay with you forever. I remember reading an interview with Sting the singer many years ago. He said how he now knows religion is BS - but since he's been brainwashed early - he still finds it very hard to forget all teh lies installed into his mind as a kid. That is the nature of early child abuse. 

In reply to by Hobbleknee

AGuy Keyser Thu, 07/20/2017 - 02:30 Permalink

"I'm waiting for "The Purge" to become reality"

its already a reality and has been for a very, very long time. For the most part Politicians and gov't bureaucrats can murder and steal with impunity. The Socialists "purged" hundreds of millions during the 20th Century.

In reply to by Keyser

Mr 9x19 AGuy Thu, 07/20/2017 - 04:37 Permalink

+1 for the purge but not gonna happen, it is against massive immigrants waves to supply futur tax collect on this failed system. allowing a purge drastically reduce population the the elite got less money from the population.it is a concern, until they find a way to bypass the need of the masse as a revenue. i still agree with the concept of being less on earth. 

In reply to by AGuy