Introduced by Alan Rusbridger
Illustrated by Jonathan Burton
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger introduces Orwell’s masterpiece in this striking new edition.
Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed for ever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth — or Minitrue as it is called in Newspeak — altering newspapers and reports to follow the arbitrary dictates of Big Brother’s propaganda. Beneath his outward conformity, Winston dreams of sharing his treasonable thoughts, breaking ‘the locked loneliness in which one had to live’. And so he takes his first dangerous steps — writing a diary of his doubts and then falling in love with a woman of the Party, the beautiful and brave Julia. They know their love is doomed, but Julia swears ‘They can make you say anything — anything — but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.’ In Oceania, however, there is no possibility of solidarity, rebellion or love, and the Party can get anywhere.
‘Orwell’s courage and integrity shine from every page’
Winner of Gold Medal (book category) in the Illustrators 57 competition,
at the Society of Illustrators in New York
Orwell’s last and arguably his greatest work, Nineteen Eighty-Four has entered the cultural consciousness. Doublethink, thoughtcrime, the Thought Police, Big Brother and Room 101 — these terms have been absorbed into our language. Its title, however, remains a mystery. Among several theories about its inspiration are that it alludes to the centenary of the Fabian Society, founded in 1884, and that it pays homage to Orwell’s favourite writer, G. K. Chesterton, whose story ‘The Napoleon of Notting Hill’ is set in 1984. The novel is a satire on the totalitarian state — and the desire of the state to control not only the deeds but the thoughts and desires of those it rules. In his introduction Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian newspaper, writes about why this remains such a modern concern, and why so many journalists and thinkers continually return to the novel to ask whether Orwell ‘got it right’, and to what extent we are ‘all, potentially, Winston Smith’. This edition features illustrations by Jonathan Burton, whose work has appeared in many Folio editions.
'The books have arrived and I'm speechless. I'm really proud of it and what a huge privilege it's been to illustrate. The spine and cover make a huge statement and the red head and tail bands are a beautiful touch'
Click here to read a blog post by Jonathan Burton, discussing his work on Nineteen Eighty-Four.
George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, India, in 1903, to what he would later call a ‘lower-upper middle class’ family. He returned to England in 1906, and later won a scholarship to Eton College, after which he sat the Indian Civil Service exams and joined the Burma police in 1921. Whilst in Burma he developed a critical attitude towards imperial authority, which he evoked in his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Having resigned his job in 1927, he took to exploring the poverty of his home country and Paris; travelling, observing and often living as a tramp, with a view to becoming a writer – a period which culminated in the overtly socialist The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937. He fought in the Spanish Civil War, experiencing the factionalism breaking apart the republican cause, and became virulently anti-Communist, a stance reflected in his Homage to Catalonia of 1938. Having developed a reputation as a fearsome essayist, he published his political satire Animal Farm shortly after the end of the Second World War. After the death of his wife he moved to the isolated Isle of Jura in Scotland, where, as he struggled against tuberculosis, he composed Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), arguably his masterpiece. He died in London in 1950.
Alan Rusbridger has been editor of the Guardian newspaper since 1995. Born in Zambia, he graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English in 1976. He trained as a reporter on the Cambridge Evening News before first joining the Guardian in 1979. During his editorship the paper has fought a number of high-profile battles over libel and press freedom, and he has been named Editor of the Year three times. He is the author of three children’s books, co-author of the BBC drama Fields of Gold, and has written a fulllength animation film script and a play about Beethoven. He was a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a visiting professor of history at Queen Mary’s College, London and an honorary professor at Cardiff University .
Jonathan Burton has worked as an illustrator since 1999, after graduating with an MA from Kingston University, London. He has been awarded two silver medals from the Society of Illustration in New York, two Awards of Excellence from Communication Arts, and has received the Overall Professional Award for 2013 from the Association of Illustrators. For The Folio Society he has illustrated Cover Her Face by P. D. James and the Hitchhikers series by Douglas Adams. He lives in Bordeaux, France.
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Review by Omari on 20th Jun 2015
"Beautifully written and beautifully bound. There is little else that would allow me to describe a book, often thought of as one of the most influential in modern science fiction. A must have for any t..." [read more]
Review by petain16 on 18th May 2015
"A beautiful edition of this Orwell classic. The illustrations are very well done and this book is a joy to hold and handle, as are all my Folio editions. An edition that is a 'must have' for the Orwel..." [read more]
Review by JNoord on 22nd Oct 2014
"Nineteen eighty four is my favourite book , I think everyone should read it. The illustrations are great Johnathan well done. Anyone who likes 1984 will be really happy with this edition I know I am. ..." [read more]