George Orwell's notes for Nineteen Eighty-Four


This is an extract from one of George Orwell’s literary notebooks, which he probably used in different periods of his life, and in which he wrote down ideas and outlines for his works. These pages contain manuscript notes for the novel that would eventually become Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Orwell had been working on the idea of a dystopian novel for several years before the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949. The pages shown here are part of the draft for ‘The Last Man in Europe’, one of the titles he considered for his novel. They contain a list of words and themes ‘to be brought in’, among which are some of the most recognisable concepts of Nineteen Eighty-Four, including the idea of ‘Newspeak’ and the series of slogans ‘War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength. Freedom is Slavery’. In the second page, an early outline of the novel allows us to see the themes that Orwell intended to develop, including the pervasiveness of state propaganda and its terrifying consequences, or as Orwell puts it, ‘the nightmare feeling caused by the disappearance of objective truth’.

Full title:
Literary notebook 1939/40-1946/47
Manuscript / Notebook
George Orwell
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George Orwell: © With kind permission of the estate of the late Sonia Brownell Orwell. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

UCL: © Orwell Archive, UCL Library Special Collections.

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