On Nineteen Eighty-Four

A Biography


A smart and insightful book on the history and enduring power of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, which has seen a resurgence in the current political and social climate


ISBN: 9781419747649 Category:

D.J. Taylor


From the author of the definitive biography of George Orwell, a captivating account of the origin and enduring power of his landmark dystopian novel

Since its publication nearly 70 years ago, George Orwell’s 1984 has been regarded as one of the most influential novels of the modern age. Politicians have testified to its influence on their intellectual identities, rock musicians have made records about it, TV viewers watch a reality show named for it, and a White House spokesperson tells of “alternative facts.” The world we live in is often described as an Orwellian one, awash in inescapable surveillance and invasions of privacy.

On 1984 dives deep into Orwell’s life to chart his earlier writings and key moments in his youth, such as his years at a boarding school, whose strict and charismatic headmaster shaped the idea of Big Brother. Taylor tells the story of the writing of the book, taking readers to the Scottish island of Jura, where Orwell, newly famous thanks to Animal Farm but coping with personal tragedy and rapidly declining health, struggled to finish 1984. Published during the cold war—a term Orwell coined—Taylor elucidates the environmental influences on the book. Then he examines 1984’s post-publication life, including its role as a tool to understand our language, politics, and government.

In a current climate where truth, surveillance, censorship, and critical thinking are contentious, Orwell’s work is necessary. Written with resonant and reflective analysis, On 1984 is both brilliant and remarkably timely.

Additional information

Weight 218 g
Dimensions 14 x 20.9 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 11 November 2021
Number of pages 208
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 14 x 20.9 cm
Weight 218 g


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D.J. Taylor is a British critic, novelist, and biographer. Taylor contributes to many newspapers, including the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.