The novel is a classic in anti-utopian fiction, and a trenchant political satire that remains as relevant today as when it was first published. First appeared in 1949, this novel seemed like a nightmarish vision of the future in a totalitarian world. Playing on the public's worst fears about governmental control, different readings saw the former Soviet Union as the object of satire, while others focused on increasingly powerful democratic governments.
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.