On Nineteen Eighty-Four A Biography

On Nineteen Eighty-Four

A Biography

  • ISBN: 9781419738005
  • Publication Date: October 22, 2019


Price: $24.00

The essential backstory to the creation and meaning of one of the most important novels of the twentieth century—and now the twenty-first.

Since its publication nearly seventy years ago, George Orwell's 1984 has been regarded as one of the most influential novels of the modern age. Politicians have testified to its influence on their intellectual identities, rock musicians have made records about it, TV viewers watch a reality show named for it, and a White House spokesperson tells of "alternative facts." The world we live in is often described as an Orwellian one, awash in inescapable surveillance and invasions of privacy.

On Nineteen Eighty-Four dives deep into Orwell's life to chart his earlier writings and key moments in his youth, such as his years at a boarding school, whose strict and charismatic headmaster shaped the idea of Big Brother. D.J. Taylor tells the story of the writing of the book, taking readers to the Scottish island of Jura, where Orwell, newly famous thanks to Animal Farm but coping with personal tragedy and rapidly declining health, struggled to finish 1984.

Published during the cold war—a term Orwell coined—Taylor elucidates the environmental influences on the book. Then he examines 1984's post-publication life, including its role as a tool to understand our language, politics, and government.

In a climate where truth, surveillance, censorship, and critical thinking are contentious, Orwell's work is necessary. Written with resonant and reflective analysis, On Nineteen Eighty-Four is both brilliant and remarkably timely.

Praise for On Nineteen Eighty-Four

"A lively, engaging, concise biography of a novel." —Kirkus Reviews

"The fascinating origins and complex legacy of this enduring masterwork are chronicled in [this] arresting new book." —BookPage

"Brisk [and] focused. . . . Taylor here covers the highlights, giving both an overview of Orwell's career and a survey of his greatest literary achievement." —Wall Street Journal

"Taylor is an accomplished literary critic and he illuminates Orwell's work in the context of his life, elegantly and expertly charting his course from Grub Street to bestsellerdom." —The Guardian


“A lively, engaging, concise biography of a novel.”

“. . . a comprehensive, captivating account of the origin and enduring power of this landmark dystopian novel.”

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