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kottke.org posts about George Orwell

A reading list for resistance

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 18, 2016

Over at Literary Hub, Emily Temple offers a “reading list for resistance”, a list of 25 Works of Fiction and Poetry for Anger and Action.

Included are The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:

This is the book women will be whispering about to one another in Trump’s America-an all-too-real vision of our country under a totalitarian theocracy where women are stripped of their rights and kept around only as breeders or servants.

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin:

There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary. But the idea was real.

And of course, George Orwell’s 1984:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic…

1984 was my favorite book for a long time — I first read it when I was about 10 years old and reread it every year or two well into my 20s. I haven’t read it in more than 10 years…perhaps it’s time for another go.

We Work Remotely

Brilliant book cover design for Orwell’s 1984

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2013

A new series of George Orwell’s books are being published by Penguin and this is the cover for 1984:

Penguin 1984

Cover design by David Pearsonmore covers from the same series here. (via @torrez)

Original NY Times review of Orwell’s 1984

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 15, 2011

Published just a few days after what would become George Orwell’s most well-known novel in 1949, here’s what the New York Times had to say about Nineteen Eighty-Four.

In the excesses of satire one may take a certain comfort. They provide a distance from the human condition as we meet it in our daily life that preserves our habitual refuge in sloth or blindness or self-righteousness. Mr. Orwell’s earlier book, Animal Farm, is such a work. Its characters are animals, and its content is therefore fabulous, and its horror, shading into comedy, remains in the generalized realm of intellect, from which our feelings need fear no onslaught. But ”Nineteen Eighty-four” is a work of pure horror, and its horror is crushingly immediate.

Re-reading Animal Farm

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 27, 2010

In a re-read of Orwell’s Animal Farm, Christopher Hitchens notices that there’s no Lenin pig.

The social forces represented by different animals are easily recognisable — Boxer the noble horse as the embodiment of the working class, Moses the raven as the Russian Orthodox church — as are the identifiable individuals played by different pigs. The rivalry between Napoleon (Stalin) and Snowball (Trotsky) ends with Snowball’s exile and the subsequent attempt to erase him from the memory of the farm. Stalin had the exiled Trotsky murdered in Mexico less than three years before Orwell began work on the book.