"QUITE SIMPLY A NOVEL WHICH HAS CHANGED THE WORLD": FIRST EDITION OF GEORGE ORWELL'S 1984
ORWELL, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Secker and Warburg, 1949. Octavo, original green cloth, original red-and-white dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $8200.
First edition of Orwell's powerful and influential dystopian novel, in preferred red dust jacket.
"No other dystopian novel has received the critical acclaim or had the wide-ranging influence that 1984 has" (Books of the Century, 161). Written while Orwell suffered severely from tuberculosis and published shortly before the disease claimed his life, the novel is a work "of hectic, devilish, claustrophobic intensity… nightmarish in the telling" (Clute & Nicholls, 896). Writing of Orwell, Christopher Hitchens said, "'the three great subjects of the 20th century were imperialism, fascism and Stalinism… Orwell got all three right" (New York Times). It was this aptitude for politics that enabled Orwell to create a cautionary tale at once remarkably profound and widely accessible. "It is possible to say that the ghastly future Orwell foretold has not come about simply because he foretold it: we were warned in time" (Burgess, 99 Novels, 46). For its enrichment of the English language—bequeathing such words as "doublethink," "Newspeak," and, of course, "Big Brother"—and its warning about the dire consequences of unchecked power in any hands, 1984 remains a literary landmark. "It is quite simply a novel which has changed the world" (Pringle, 100 Best Science Fiction Novels 1). First-edition dust jacket issued in both green and red (this copy) versions, no priority established. Fenwick A12a. Connolly 99. Anatomy of Wonder II:838. 100 Most Influential Books 93. Contemporary gift inscription dated 1949; owner signature on same page. Dated owner signature on half title.
Text very fresh, front hinge barely starting, book about-fine; light edge-wear, mild toning to spine, tiny open tear to front flap seam, faint dampstaining to rear panel of unrestored preferred red dust jacket.