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Originally published on June 8, 1949, George Orwell’s 1984 is a dystopian masterpiece of tremendous influence and enduring relevance. Orwell’s nightmare vision for 1984 is of a totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and the Thought Police, which persecute independent thinking. Orwell’s world is one in which the news is manufactured by the authorities, no one is free, and individuality is obsolete.
1984 was the ninth and final book George Orwell completed in his lifetime. Parallels have been drawn between its subject matter and real-life instances of totalitarianism, communism, mass surveillance, and violations of freedom of expression. The novel uses several terms that have entered common usage in the English language including Big Brother, doublethink and thoughtcrime.
American literary critic Lionel Trilling said of Orwell’s classic, “1984 is a profound, terrifying, and wholly fascinating book. It is a fantasy of the political future, and like any such fantasy, serves its author as a magnifying device for an examination of the present.”
The novel has been included in Time magazine’s 100 Best English-Language Novels, the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels, and on the BBC’s list of the 100 Most Influential Novels. On January 25, 2017, the book broke new ground when it suddenly appeared at the #1 spot on Amazon’s bestseller list, an unheard-of occurrence for a book published 68 years prior.
Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call to become aware of the assaults on our personal freedoms, and to defend humankind’s most precious right: the freedom to have our own thoughts.
ABOUT THE EDITIONS
The fine press limited edition of 1984 by George Orwell is presented in three states: Lettered, Numbered and Artist Gift editions. The editions measure 6” x 9” and feature seventeen full color illustrations by Hugo Award-winning artist Jim Burns as well as an introduction by New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill.
The Numbered edition of 250 copies is a full paste paper binding handpainted by Marie Kelzer. The cover and spine include a foil stamped label, and endsheets are Canson Ingress. The edition is printed letterpress on Mohawk Superfine, and is housed in a blue acrylic slipcase. The edition is handbound and is signed by Joe Hill and Jim Burns.
Marie Kelzer’s paste paper covers for 1984 are handpainted one at a time, and no two are entirely alike. Marie Kelzer’s Paste Papers are part of the Paper Legacy Project and are housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, at the Thomas J. Watson Library. She has been painting paste papers since 1988.
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