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Inspiration for 1984

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Post 09 Feb 2007, 18:25
Since some of you disagreed and were angered by my thwarting of another thread's topic i created this.

"In his essay Why I Write, Orwell clearly explains that all the "serious work" he had written since the Spanish Civil War in 1936 was "written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism". [2] Therefore, one can look at Nineteen Eighty-Four as a cautionary tale against totalitarianism and in particular the betrayal of a revolution by those claiming to defend or support it. However, as many reviewers and critics have stated, it should not be read as an attack on socialism as a whole, but on totalitarianism and potential totalitarianism.

Orwell had already set forth his distrust of totalitarianism and the betrayal of revolutions in Homage to Catalonia and Animal Farm. Coming Up For Air, at points, celebrates the individual freedom that is lost in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Orwell based many aspects of Oceanian society on the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The "Two Minutes' Hate", for instance was based on Stalinism's habitual demonisation of its enemies and rivals, and the description of Big Brother himself bears a physical resemblance to Stalin. The Party's proclaimed great enemy, Emmanuel Goldstein, resembles Leon Trotsky, in part because both are Jewish, had the same physical description and the Trotsky's real last name was Bronstein.

Orwell's biographer Michael Shelden recognizes, as influences on the work: the Edwardian world of his childhood in Henley for the "golden country"; his being bullied at St. Cyprian's for the feelings that victims hold towards their tormentors; his life in the Indian Burma Police and his experiences with censorship in the BBC for models of authoritarian power. Specific literary influences Shelden mentions include Arthur Koestler's books Darkness at Noon and The Yogi and the Commissar; Jack London's The Iron Heel (1908); Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932); Yevgeny Zamyatin's Russian novel We (1923), which Orwell first read in the 1940s; James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution (1940).[4] Orwell personally told Jacintha Buddicom that at some point he might write a book in a style similar to that of H. G. Wells' A Modern Utopia.

His work for the overseas service of the BBC, which at the time was under the control of the Ministry of Information, also played a significant role as the basis for his Ministry of Truth (as he later admitted to Malcolm Muggeridge). The Ministry of Information building, Senate House (University of London), was the Ministry of Truth's architectural inspiration.

The world of Nineteen Eighty-Four also reflects various aspects of the social and political life of both the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Orwell is reported to have said that the book described what he viewed as the situation in the United Kingdom in 1948, when the British economy was poor, the British Empire was dissolving at the same time as newspapers were reporting its triumphs, and wartime allies such as the USSR were rapidly becoming peacetime foes ('Eurasia is the enemy. Eurasia has always been the enemy').

In many ways, Oceania is indeed a future metamorphosis of the British Empire (although Orwell is careful to state that, geographically, it also includes the United States, and that the currency is the dollar). It is, as its name suggests, an essentially naval power. Much of its militarism is focused on veneration for sailors and seafarers, serving on board "floating fortresses" which Orwell evidently conceived of as the next stage in the growth of ever-bigger warships, after the Dreadnoughts of WWI and the aircraft carriers of WWII; and much of the fighting conducted by Oceania's troops takes place in defense of India (the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire).

(Shelden, Michael (1991). Orwell—The Authorized Biography. New York: HarperCollins. 0060167093. ; pp 430-434)
Post 09 Feb 2007, 20:11
I read the book, it's a marvelous book, and it goes far beyond stalism or fascism. It's against totalitarian regimes in general, weather left or right.

What I like to know is why did you reply to this
As well the rise of fascism has nothing to do with stalinism, since Mussolini rose to power in 1922, long before Stalin was in power.
with this:
wrong, but i dont wanna drag the thread off topic.

How is that wrong? in what ways did Fascism was a reaction to stalinism if it was previous to the last one??
Why did you say that the european fear of the revolution was due to stalinism???
Post 09 Feb 2007, 20:15
How is that wrong? in what ways did Fascism was a reaction to stalinism if it was previous to the last one??

Unless you want to separate the movements....Fascist Italy was only one part of Fascism's rise...albet mostly its 'dawn'. Its success however was due to its strong resistance to Communism. The realities of the Stalinist era perpetuated european fears of a Communist revolution, and gave aid to the rise and legitimacy of Fascist parties in Britain, France, Spain, and Germany.
Post 09 Feb 2007, 20:23
That's just an opinion.
Western europeans feared a revolution ever since the 1917 revolution. Either stalinism or any other socialist government would have produced the same fear.
The growth of extreme right (so as to place fascism, nazism and other rightists ideologies) in the 30's is due to the Great depression, the failure of left parties to mobilize the proletariat on their side and the censorship mainstream parties had over left parties (because of the fear of a bolchevik revolution).
Post 09 Feb 2007, 20:31
The growth of extreme right (so as to place fascism, nazism and other rightists ideologies) in the 30's is due to the Great depression, the failure of left parties to mobilize the proletariat on their side and the censorship mainstream parties had over left parties (because of the fear of a bolchevik revolution).

You're right but you're missing something. Fascism had a small list of points that overtly defined its ideology, one of them being a strong resistance to Communism and/or Bolshevism(by the way its Bolshevik, not Bolchevik) So while the great depressed helped slightly, it also aided the movement of Socialism by raising government's involvement with the economy. Specifically, during this time..the rising tensions and the usuage of Socialist principals gave rise to the fear that Communism was on its way. Maybe Stalinism was not the best choice of words, however I was more-or-less addressing the policies of the nation at the time...not the ideology of Communism they were enacting.
Post 09 Feb 2007, 22:37
I think we can agree now. Sorry for the bolchevik, but I mixed it with spanish (bolchevique)
Post 10 Feb 2007, 00:37
I like Ninteen Eight-Four, but not much of Orwell's other works. Mostly cause they're ignorant of political occurances at the time.

Ninetten Eighty-Four is a great example of the cruelties of totalitarianism. Which is nowadays more and more part of the West.
Post 10 Feb 2007, 00:46
1984 has a very marxist core. I still get inspiration from these sentences:

'There are a couple of minutes before you need go,' said O'Brien. 'We shall meet again -- if we do meet again -'

Winston looked up at him. 'In the place where there is no darkness?' he said hesitantly.

O'Brien nodded without appearance of surprise. 'In the place where there is no darkness,' he said, as though he had recognized the allusion.

Darkness will fall with the victory upon capitalism! Close the ranks, lets make the dream of Winston come through. Crush the capitalist!
Post 20 Dec 2020, 13:27
As someone who's taught English, I found the most fascinating part of the book to be the essay he included as an appendix called 'The Principles of Newspeak'.

The detail he goes into describing how individual freedoms can be curbed by denying people the language to articulate thought is I think one of the great masterpieces of political literature.

I often joke with my students about how English, watered down to the level of Newspeak, could be useful to them. I explain that the use of irregular verbs, synonyms and even antonyms could be mostly done with in order to simplify the learning process yet still render English intelligible.

I think it is also insinuated that English articles become unnecessary, because I don't remember him explicitly stating that in the essay.
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