The year 1984 is now almost as far back in our past as it was far into Orwell’s future when he published his novel in 1948. But the book, unlike the year, has not simply dated. On the contrary, it seemed to surge back into contemporary relevance in the last year, briefly topping the bestseller list just after the 2017 presidential inauguration. Orwell’s novel, then, continues to hold political and literary significance, far outside of the Cold War context of its early reception. In his essay “Why I Write,” Orwell wrote: “What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art.” In this webinar, we’ll consider Orwell’s novel as an example of such political art. How do we understand 1984 as a deliberately crafted work of writing? How can we connect it to Orwell’s previous fifteen years as a prolific and experimental writer? What literary strategies and imaginative techniques underlie the tricky art of engaging politics through writing?
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