An engaging study of Orwell’s 70-year-old political masterpiece

Dorian Lynskey traces the genesis of Nineteen Eighty-Four back to the Spanish Civil War, in which Orwell fought with a Marxist militia, but saw his comrades torn apart by factionalism and propaganda

23rd June, 2019
Seven decades after it was published, Nineteen Eighty-Four remains a parable for our times

Literature: The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984, By Dorian Lynskey, Picador, €19.55

‘How important names are,” George Orwell once wrote to a friend. He certainly hated his real one, claiming, “It took me nearly 30 years to work off the effects of being called Eric.” Given that attitude, many Irish readers of Orwell’s dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four must have wondered why he gave its villain the moniker O’Brien....

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