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8. History and Language
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the novel engages with the themes of history and language, focusing in particular on: (i) the difference between significant objects, such as Winston’s paperweight, which provide a concrete link to the past, and language, the meaning of which is constantly changing; (ii) the extent to which Winston is himself a reliable judge of the past; (iii) the importance in the novel of the ability of the control the meaning of language; and (iv) the extent to which all versions of the past are ‘stories’ to some degree.
In this course, Dr Adam Stock (York St John University) explores George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. The first four modules cover historical and literary context, including the genre of the novel, the life and career of George Orwell himself, and the political ideologies that were swirling round Europe in thirties and forties and which left their mark on the novel. The following four modules focus on the text itself, thinking about its structure, and how it engages with the concepts of time and space, history and memory, epistemology and ontology and power and language. In the final three modules, we think about some critical approaches to the novel, focusing in particular on Orwell’s presentation of nature and the natural world, and of female characters in the novel.
Dr Adam Stock is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at York St John University. As a researcher, he specialises in the interdisciplinary areas of utopian studies, science fiction and modernisms. His book Dystopian Fiction and Political Thought: Narratives of World Politics (2019) examined dystopian fiction from the first half of the twentieth century, while he is currently interested in questions about boundaries and borderlands, spatialisation, and the temporalities of speculative fiction in the twentieth and twenty-first century.
Cite this Lecture
Stock, A. (2021, February 16). Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four - History and Language [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/orwell-nineteen-eighty-four-stock/history-and-language
Stock, Adam. "Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four – History and Language." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/orwell-nineteen-eighty-four-stock/history-and-language