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Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70, and Orwell's as vital as ever

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George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70 on Saturday. Six months after publication in June 1949, its author was dead, killed by the tuberculosis that plagued his adulthood. He was 46. The novel was yet to be recognised as a modern classic.

Orwell did not know that many would come to regard him as the greatest political writer in English in the past century. He did not know Nineteen Eighty-Four would become a staple of high school literature around the world or that phrases his novel contained, such as "Big Brother is watching you", or concepts such as the Thought Police and Newspeak would fall into common usage, even among those who never read him.

George Orwell, who died at 44, not knowing what impact his recently published novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, would have on the world. Credit:AP

Nor had the adjective "Orwellian" appeared in 1949. It speaks to the novel’s totalitarian world of oppressive........

© Brisbane Times