From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic dystopian novel by English author George Orwell. Published in 1949, it is set in the eponymous year and focuses on a repressive, totalitarian regime. The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of perpetuating the regime's propaganda by falsifying records and political literature. Smith grows disillusioned with his meager existence and so begins a rebellion against the system that leads to his arrest and torture.
The novel has become famous for its portrayal of pervasive government surveillance and control, and government's increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual. Since its publication, many of its terms and concepts, such as "Big Brother," "doublethink" and "Newspeak" have entered the popular vernacular. The word "Orwellian" itself has come to refer to anything reminiscent of the book's fictional regime.
Themes of Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Censorship under fascist regimes
- Cult of personality
- Language and thought
- Mass surveillance
- New World Order
Derivative concepts and works
- Dystopian fiction
- 1984, a television commercial for the Apple Macintosh
- 1984, an album by Rick Wakeman
- 1984, a song by Anti-Flag
- 1985, a novel by Anthony Burgess
- 1985, a novel by Gyorgy Delos which is depicted as a sequel to the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Big Brother, a reality television series, first developed in the Netherlands.
- Chain of Command, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Diamond Dogs, a concept album by David Bowie, which features songs with such titles as "We Are The Dead", "1984" and "Big Brother"
- Nineteen-Forty-Eightish, a song by Roy Harper and Jimmy Page dedicated to Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Half-Life 2, a video game by Valve. References the book's Room 101.
- Faceless, a song by the crust-punk band Behind Enemy Lines (band)
- Sexcrime, a song by the Eurythmics
- Orwell's Revenge, by Peter Huber, a critique of Orwell's prophecies alongside a sequel to 1984, with Eric Blair as the protagonist
- Testify by Rage Against the Machine references the Party slogan
- Undenk, an underground German artist group
- The Unreals, a novel by Donald Jeffries
- Wake Up (it's 1984), a song by Oingo Boingo
- Terry Gilliam's Brazil, which was originally going to be called Nineteen Eighty-Four And A Half,