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Author Topic: A novelist in ill health races with time to finish a masterpiece  (Read 271 times)
Joe Carillo
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« on: November 02, 2017, 08:52:25 PM »

Smothered by journalism that he felt he had “become more and more like a sucked orange,” the desperately sick English writer Eric Blair hied off to a remote Scottish farmhouse in 1947, pounding a battered typewriter literally at fever-pitch during one of the coldest winters of the century to come up with a novel under the alternate working title “The Last Man in Europe.”

As told in a compelling narrative by writer Robert McCrum in The Guardian of UK in 2009, Eric Blair, who wrote under the pseudonym George Orwell, finally finished his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four in mid-December of 1948. The work was almost universally recognized as a masterpiece upon its publication in mid-1949, but seven months later, at age 46, Eric Blair died from massive hemorrhage brought about by his longstanding lung ailment.

Since its publication, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been translated into more than 65 languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide, and its story has made such terms as “Big Brother,” “doublethink,” and “newspeak” of wide currency in the English language even today.


Says McCrum of the novel’s powerful literary and political legacy: “‘Orwellian’ is now universal shorthand for anything repressive or totalitarian, and the story of Winston Smith, an everyman for his times, continues to resonate for readers whose fears for the future are very different from those of an English writer in the mid-1940s.”

Read Robert McCrum’s “The masterpiece that killed George Orwell” in the May 10, 2009 issue of The Observer of UK now!

Look up the Forum’s original 2009 post on Robert McCrum’s feature story on George Orwell under the omnibus article “Distraction and Obsession”

« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 08:55:05 PM by Joe Carillo » Logged

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