Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing
"Fascinating . . . If you have even the slightest interest in Orwell or in the development of our culture, you should not miss this engrossing, enlightening book." John Carey, The Sunday Times
"Everything you wanted to know about 1984 but were too busy misusing the word 'Orwellian' to ask." Caitlin Moran
George Orwell's 1984 has become a defining narrative of the modern world. Its cultural influence can be observed in some of the most notable creations of the past seventy years, from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to the reality TV landmark Big Brother, while ideas such as 'thought police', 'doublethink', and 'Newspeak' are ingrained in our language.
In the first book to fully examine the origin and legacy of Orwell's final masterpiece, Dorian Lynskey investigates the influences that came together in the writing of 1984 from Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War and in wartime London to his fascination with utopian and dystopian fiction. Lynskey explores the phenomenon the novel became when it was first published in 1949 and the changing ways in which it has been read over the decades since, revealing how history can inform fiction and how fiction can influence history.