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Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

5. Part I – Time and Temporality

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the treatment of time and temporality in Part I of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of time in the very first sentence of the novel (“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”); (ii) the (temporal) concentration of the first part of the novel; (iii) the use of external and internal analepses, i.e. flashbacks; (iv) the extent to which Orwell’s combination of story time with ever-longer analepses suggests the influence of modernistic techniques developed by Joyce, Richardson, Woolf, etc.; and (v) the extent to which Orwell’s narrative is modernistic in other ways, e.g. concern with everyday experience, blurring of memory/imagination, etc.


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.

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APA style

Stock, A. (2021, February 16). Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four - Part I – Time and Temporality [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stock, A. "Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four – Part I – Time and Temporality." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Feb 2021,