Big Brother will now have a younger sister

Here’s a book I am unlikely to read: George Orwell’s estate approves retelling ‘1984’ from woman’s point of view. The title is to be Julia.

Julia you will recall was Winston Smith’s lover as part of a plot designed to outline the nature of a totalitarian state in which the past is erased and recreated at every turn to suit the government’s narrative of the moment (“Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia”). It’s been a while since I read the book, but the bits I remember were the two minute hatethe thought police, Room 101, Big Brother and Newspeak. Not to mention Emmanuel Goldstein. Actually I remember quite a lot about I book that so far as I know I read only a single time and that when I was in university, possibly even in high school. Anyway, a very very long time ago. An amazing book although I have seen movie versions of the story. It’s part of the language, although it seems today to have in many ways become a how-to book.

The book was not a love story, and to the extent that Julia figured in the plot it was only to demonstrate the massive power the state holds over its citizens. This is a brief bio of the proposed author:

Sandra Newman is the author of the novels The Heavens, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Country of Ice Cream Star, longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and NPR, as well as several other works of fiction and nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s and Granta, among other publications. She lives in New York City.

This is a description of one of her books: The Heavens.

A work of rare literary brilliance and emotional power, The Heavens is a mesmerizing novel of love and dreams that moves between a reimagined New York City and Elizabethan England and asks how our world comes to be.

A depressing thought that one of the great political classics will now be deprived of all interest in what will almost certainly be a feminist treatment since no doubt Winston Smith was not the perfect companion and broke many of the latest views of boy-girl relations as 1949 will be seen today. Of course, the book might be written using Peng Shuai as the model for Julia.

But I thought this comment in the discussion at Instapundit explained quite a lot of why this is happening.

1984’s copyright expired 1/1/21 so it’s not clear that the foundation could have done much about this anyway.

Might go and re-read the original. Re-read Brave New World a few months ago and ended up writing an article that has been submitted for publication. I wonder what surprises there still are in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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