Review Blog

Apr 10 2018

1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925603040
(Age: secondary) Recommended. Themes: Tyranny. Satire. Classic novels. Classic novels, 1984 and Animal Farm have been reprinted in one volume for another generation to grapple with the stories that have reached a status all of their own in twentieth century literature. Both novels rail against tyranny and injustice, showing a society where the individual is made subordinate to the power of the government machine, where individuality is quashed, and doublespeak abounds. A fitting reprint for today's world.
1984 has an informative introduction by author, Charlotte Wood (The natural way of things and The writer's room) which sets the book in its time, showing how so many of the phrases Orwell wrote have become currency within the English language, while some of his predictions about totalitarian states have become all too real.
Animal Farm has an introduction by author and commentator, Don Watson (Death sentence and Recollections of a bleeding heart amongst others) who tells us about Orwell's background. His participation in the Spanish Civil War galvanised his attitude to Russia, where the Russian Revolution has fallen into despotism, and his experiences during World War Two led him to doubt the future of civilisation, in turn leading to the development of his 'fairy story', Animal Farm, warning us all of the dangers of totalitarianism.
When people catalogue the most influential and inspiring books they have read, these two figure high up in the list, warning as they do of the corruption of society, the tyranny of government and the restricting of the individual, and in these times his warnings are chillingly real.
A pair of novels published for those who wish to read and appraise their relevance to today, these novels have stood the test of time, being read and reread, acknowledging that things do not change, perhaps called by a different name, but tyranny, repression and injustice still abound.
Fran Knight

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