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2. Who was George Orwell?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the life and career of George Orwell up to the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949, thinking in particular about: (i) his family, his early life, his education, and his early career in Burma; (ii) his literary output in the 1930s; (iii) the importance of the Spanish Civil War experience in shaping his political views – and especially his understanding of what fascism is and how it operates; and (iv) the extent to which Nineteen Eighty-Four represents a culmination of these experiences.
In this course, Dr Nathan Waddell (University of Birmingham) explores George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. The first two modules provide broad context for the novel: in the first, we think about Orwell’s writing of the novel and the reaction of his contemporaries, while in the second we think about Orwell’s life and career, and the experiences that contributed to the shape of the novel. After that, in the third and fourth modules, we think about the novel’s form, considering first (in the third module) the genre, structure and style of novel, and then (in the fourth module) the texts and traditions that had an influence on the novel. In the fifth module, we think about some of the key themes of the novel, before turning in the six, seventh and eighth modules to focus in more detail on the characters of Winston, Julia and O’Brien. Finally, in the ninth module, we think about the novel’s legacy, including its influence on other writings and its continued relevance today.
Dr Nathan Waddell is Senior Lecturer in Early Twentieth-Century and Modernist Literature at the University of Birmingham. He teaches and researches early twentieth-century literature, with a core emphasis on the life, work, and controversies of the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957). His recent publications include Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (2019) and (as co-editor with J. Greenberg) 'Brave New World': Contexts and Legacies. (2016).
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Cite this Lecture
Waddell, N. (2020, January 04). Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four - Who was George Orwell? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/orwell-nineteen-eighty-four/who-was-george-orwell
Waddell, Nathan. "Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four – Who was George Orwell?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Jan 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/orwell-nineteen-eighty-four/who-was-george-orwell